Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Zucchini Pasta

Last night I whipped up this super easy and not to mention quick recipe of Summer Zucchini Pasta from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper.  I even got to use a few of my CSA goodies - cherry tomatoes, basil, and zucchini.  Seriously this took me ten minutes total, and I love the pops of tomato, the freshness of basil, and the heat from the red pepper flakes.  The best part is that is great warm, room temperature, or cold.

CSA Week Eight

Two months -whoa!  The best part this week was definitely the cherry tomatoes - such delicious treats to pop in your mouth.  Here is what else I got in my CSA this week:
-Cherry tomatoes
-Some other melon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Corn Corn Corn!

As promised, here are a couple corn recipes to keep you busy through the season.

Fresh Corn Pancakes, from The Bitten Word.  Click here for the recipe.
This is the second time I have made these cakes, and I love the option of making them a sweet or savory meal.  Add maple syrup if you want it on the sweet side, or add some tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, and an egg for a variation on huevos rancheros.
My friend actually made corn chowder yesterday.  He said it was great as far as flavor goes, but he would add more potato and maybe some celery to lighten it up.  He also mentioned that making the Cheater's Homemade Broth ahead of time would help break up the work load. 
Corn Chowder from The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper, serves 4:
-4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/8-inch-wide pieces
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-1 medium to large onion, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
-2 bay leaves, broken
-4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
-1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
-1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, or to taste
-1 medium (7 ounces) red-skin potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
-4 large garlic cloves, coarse chopped
-1 recipe Cheater's Homemade Broth (click here for the recipe, seriously so good) or two 14-ounce cans chicken or vegetable broth
-1 pound (3 1/3 cups) Niblets frozen corn with no sauce; or kernels from 8 ears fresh corn
-2 cups milk or cream, or a blend of both
-1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
-2 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Put the bacon, olive oil, onion, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper in a 6-quart pot.  Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the potato, garlic, and broth.  Cover the pot tightly and simmer the soup over medium to medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the potato is tender.
2. Stir in corn, milk or cream, and Tabasco.  Remove from the heat.  Pull out the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.  With a slotted spoon, transfer about one-third of the solids to a food processor or blender.  Blend for a few seconds to crush the corn.  Return mix to the pot.
3. Heat the chowder to a bubble, and taste it for seasoning.  Serve immediately (so the corn doesn't overcook), topped with the parsley.

The soup can be made several days ahead up to the point of adding the corn.  Refrigerate, then rewarm before adding corn.

And for those of you that are lucky enough to have a grill, try this "Drippy" Mexican Sweet Corn on the Cob from The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supperserves 6:

-6 to 8 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
-12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
-Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
-2 cups Mexican crema or sour cream
-About 3 cups fresh-grated Mexican Queso Anejo or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
-1/2 cup hot chile powder

1. Prepare an outdoor grill.  When the coals are completely covered wth gray ash, grill the corn about 4 inches from the coals, turning the ears often with tongs and brushing them several times with butter.  After about 5 minutes, or when the corn is beginning to color, remove the ears to a platter.  Sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.
2.  Place the crema in one shallow bowl, the cheese on a large plate, and the chile powder in a salt shaker.
3.  Let the corn cool until it is easy to handle, but still warm.  Roll the ears of corn in the crema, draining off some of the excess.  Then roll them in the cheese.  Finish the ears by sprinkling them with the chile powder to taste, and drizzling each one with a little more crema and melted butter.

For a variation, try chile-lime corn on the cob (definitely more up my alley):
Grill the corn, brushing the ears with butter, then roll each one simply in fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 1 cup) and sprinkle it liberally with hot chile powder.

In a pinch, Lynne Rossetto Kasper says the corn can be cooked on a stove top grill or under the broiler.

Happy corn eating!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CSA Week Seven

I can't believe it is already Week Seven - almost two months of delicious, fresh food.  The produce has definitely shifted form the beginning.  At one point I was so sick of all the greens, but now I miss them.  It was always a good excuse to make tacos or tostadas.  The good news is that I got loads of corn this week.  Corn is one of my favorite summer time treats.  I don't care if I have just eaten the biggest meal of my life, if I walk by a street fair I have to stop and get the roasted corn on the cob with lime juice, salt, and chili powder.  I will say that sadly this corn does not compare to the sweet corn of Iowa.

Here is what I got this week:
-14 ears of corn
-Small head of lettuce
-Half a head of cabbage

I combined this week's and last week's basil and made pesto Wednesday night.  This is very quick and easy if you have a food processor, but have no fear - you can also use a mortar and pestle (hence where the name "pesto" comes from), which will take a bit longer, but is the traditional way.  I combined Martha Stewart's recipe from Martha Stewart's Cooking School and the Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients for pesto (1 cup):
-2 cups fresh basil leaves
-1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted (I used walnuts because they are cheaper and don't spoil as fast, but pine nuts are delicious)
-1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
-3 cloves garlic, peeled*
-1/2 cup olive oil, or more if needed
-salt and pepper to taste

*Martha Stewart recommends blanching the garlic to mellow its flavor, creating an overall sweeter pesto.  To blanch - place garlic cloves in a small sauce pan and cover with 1 inch of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately drain and let garlic cool to room temperature.

To begin, toast the walnuts and then cool completely.  Combine basil, walnuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in food processor until everything in chopped into very small bits and the basil is pulverized.  While food processor is on, slowly add olive oil until the pesto is pretty smooth.  Use immediately on pasta, sandwiches, or pizza, or cover with a layer of oil and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Stay tuned for many delicious corn recipes!  Gotta run - I am making this amazing looking bread called Zucchini and Olive Breakfast Cake.  Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pickle Party!

I would like to introduce my first guest blogger: Adam - pickle aficionado, meat lover, and beer drinker.

Nothing screams summer like home-made pickles, even when eaten in the dark days of winter they bring the tongue right back to sunnier times, but the following pickles are so good that they never make it for more than a few weeks in the refrigerator.

“Pickle” is a broad term. Alton Brown defines pickles in Good Eats: The Early Years as:
1) a solution or bath for preserving or cleaning, a brine or vinegar solution in which foods are preserved 2) any food item preserved via above definition.
There are three types of pickles, all have the same goal of limiting the bacteria that can grow and thus preserving the food.

Monday, July 19, 2010

CSA Week Six

Here is what I got last week from my CSA:

-Swiss chard
-Half a head of cabbage

My friend has been busy making pickled goodies with both the cucumbers and the beets.  I will share recipes soon.  I plan to make some pesto with the basil this week with some homemade pasta (it is really easy).  And even though it hard to resist just eating the luscious fruit, I actually turned on the oven this weekend and made some seasonal treats.  Sometimes I wonder how long it would take to bake something on my window sill - seriously.

I found this really delicious recipe for Dark Cherrie Crumble Cake with Cinnamon from a British food blog called Mowielicious.  I had to do some conversions from British to American measurements.  I don't own a food scale, but I tried to get as close as possible using measuring cups and spoons.  The recipe turned out great, but the cooking time took a bit longer.
Here is the converted recipe for Dark Cherrie Crumble Cake with Cinnamon from Mowielicious:

For the cake:
-14 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
-1 1/2 scant cups of granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 large eggs
-1 1/2 scant cups of all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 cup milk (I used whole)
-1 1/3 cup cherries, pitted and stems removed, and cut in half

For the crumble:
-7 tablespoons of unsalted butter
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-2/3 cup all-purpose flour

To begin preheat oven to 345 degrees and start making the cake batter.

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.  Gently fold in flour and baking powder.  Do not overmix.  Add milk and stir until just combined.

Pour batter in greased and parchment paper lined 9"x12" pan.  I used a 12 inch spring form and it worked fine.  Sprinkle halved cherries on top of batter.

To make the crumble, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter with your hands.  Mix until it is about pea size crumbles.  Sprinkle on top of cake batter and cherries.  Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Mine took about an hour, so just keep checking.  Serve warm or cold.  This lasts about a week in the refrigerator, although I don't know if it would actually last for that long.  It is so tasty.  For original recipe, click here.

Right after I finished the crumble cake, I set my oven for 375 and popped in individual peach-blueberry cobblers.  I didn't have another baking dish, so I just used my muffin tins.  These are very tasty too, I just wish I had time to make vanilla ice cream to go with it.  The recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs, Alexandra Cooks.  Click here to get the recipe.
Last year around this time, I made blueberry muffins.  Click here for the recipe.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Last weekend after visiting the High Line for the first time (can't believe it took me that long to actually visit), my friend and I walked a few blocks over to 24th Street and 9th Avenue and went to Co. (pronounced "company").  Co. is a pizzeria owned by Jim Lahey (who also owns Sullivan Street Bakery), although I don't know if I really want to use the term "pizzeria," because it just felt a little too sleek.  But sleek isn't the right word either.  The whole atmosphere had a clean, natural beauty to it, without it feeling trendy.  Long wood tables fill the space, where guests sit communal style.  I really enjoyed sitting like this at Busaba in London, and Saturday I felt the same way.  It nice to see what other people are getting and eavesdropping on their comments about the food or their life.

Our waitress was very friendly and informative since this was our first visit there.  She gave us the low down - Jim makes Roman style pizzas - meaning they are thin, crispy, and baked in a brick oven.  Each pizza is considered the appropriate size for one person, but the pizzas come out as soon as they are ready, instead of waiting for the entire group's order.  This obviously encourages sharing - unless you have no compassion for your starving friend staring at you as you eat your scrumptious pizza.  Our waitress also suggested getting an appetizer, but we weren't hungry enough to indulge - the artichoke salad sounded pretty tasty though.

The first pizza we got was the simple Rosa pizza, which has crushed tomatoes, slivers of garlic, fresh oregano, and chilis.  I am not the biggest fan of cheese.  In fact growing up I ripped most of my cheese off the pizza.  Although most people think I am freak, now that I look back on it - does Pizza Hut even use real cheese?  Maybe I just already had a refined palette back then.  The point is the Rosa pizza was right up my alley.  It was light, fresh, a touch of heat, and really showcased the tomatoes.
About five minutes later, or approximately two slices into the Rosa pizza, came the Stracciatella pizza.  Okay, this took me a couple of read-throughs to understand the pronunciation, but once again the waitress was very helpful and convinced us to try this pizza because it was her favorite.  Stracciatella is actually a type of cheese, and she described it as a less sweet mascarpone.  The pizza is topped with crushed tomatoes, stracciatella, black pepper, and fresh arugula.
The arugula gave the pizza a peppery flavor, but the slightly sweet cheese mellowed it out.  It was good too, but I think I liked the simplicity of the Rosa pizza better.  We didn't end with dessert because we were too full, but they have a banana split on the menu!  Ummm - yum!  Next time I am definitely saving room for dessert.  I would definitely recommend giving Co. a try if you want delicious, crispy pizza.  To view the menu, click here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CSA Week Five

I have been busy these last couple weeks with visiting friends.  And on top of that, the hot weather has really reduced my enthusiasm for cooking. That said, I am far behind this week eating my way through my CSA food.

Here is what I got last week:
-A beautiful head of lettuce
-Summer squash
-Tat soi - what is tat soi? Click here to find out.
-Eggs (not pictured)
Tat soi.
Fortunately, most of these vegetables are hardy enough to keep for a while.  I am definitely going to try to make this zucchini spiced bread I made last year again.  Click here for the recipe.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red, White, and Blueberries

Last week, I spent a few evenings making three different kinds of frozen yogurt to create homemade bomb pops.  I made sour cherry for the red, tangy lemon for the white, and blueberry for the blue - duh.  Overall, these gourmet bomb pops were tasty, but the blueberry frozen yogurt kind of fell flat.  I think my problem was that I let the yogurt mixture sit in the refrigerator a couple of nights before I made the popsicles, and it created a more vegetable-like flavor.  It was disappointing to say the least.  On the upside, the lemon and sour cherry frozen yogurt are very delicious and perfect for this hot weather.  I ended up marbling the two leftover frozen yogurts together.  It is a great sweet and sour combination.  I will admit that this took some dedication, but I am glad I did it.  It was perfect for the Fourth of July and I was happy to use my new Tovolo popsicle molds I received for my birthday.  All recipes were adapted from none other than David Lebovitz.  The sour cherry and blueberry frozen yogurt are from The Perfect Scoop, while I found the tangy lemon frozen yogurt in the Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CSA Week Four

Okay, so this is a much delayed post since I will be picking up my CSA goodies tomorrow, but I still thought I would share what I got last week.  This last week I had been super busy preparing for company and the Fourth of July.  I spent many nights working on different frozen yogurts to create homemade bomb pops, as well as making rocky road ice cream.  I am hoping to share the recipe with you soon!

Here is what I got last week:

-2 pints of blueberries
-6 peaches
-Nappa cabbage
-Swiss chard
-Summer squash/zucchini

My friend made some bread and butter pickles and some quick pickles because we had so many cucumbers.  We just gobbled up the peaches (which were AMAZING), but I am saving the blueberries for blueberry kuchen or a peach-blueberry cobbler this week.  We also threw together some tostadas, salads, stir-fry and I am making the swiss chard and caramelized onions tacos as I type!  I still haven't used all the zucchini, but I am thinking of making this zucchini and ricotta galette from Smitten Kitchen.

Last year around this time I made blueberry kuchen and got some delicious treats at the Doughnut Plant.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Recipe Stamps!

I receive a lovely little surprise in the mail today from my sister.  Wrapped sweetly in red tissue paper and tied with red yarn and an awesome red mushroom, I felt bad opening it for a minute, well a second really.  I tore open the tissue paper and found these awesome stamps!  My sister and I saw these stamps at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn and I fell in love with them, but resisted buying them.  I can't wait to get home from work and start stamping!  These are made by The Small Object  and feature artwork by Sarah Neuburger.  You should definitely check out the site, because there are tons of other adorable stamps besides these - like the little woodland pal stamps - hint hint.  And not only that, but also uh cool small objects like wedding cake toppers and stickers.

Sorry for the blurry Photo Booth shot, but I couldn't wait to share.  Thanks Jenna!