Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Italian Egg Sandwich

This past weekend I was in Chicago visiting some girlfriends from college. We decided to save money and make brunch at home before a bloody mary bender. We found a simple, satisfying recipe in a Giada De Laurentiis cookbook (recipe can be found at link). My friend works at Naha and brought home an amazing loaf of cabbiatta, which made the sandwich really stand out.

I consider myself a bloody mary connoisseur and was very impressed by The Bad Apple. The bartenders were friendly and didn't mind when we inquired on what made their marys special (spice mixture, V8 juice and a really fun garnish of pickled peppers, olives, pickled cucumbers, etc).
'Twas a lovely Sunday in Chicago!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tom Ka Gai (Coconut Chicken Soup)

I was feeling like Thai, but not feeling paying for it, so I decided to try making Tom Ka Gai. It was rich, aromatic, robust and exactly what I was looking for.
5 cups chicken broth
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1" discs
1 1/2 cups chopped Chinese cabbage
1/2 cup straw mushrooms
2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
3/4 cup large roughly chopped peppers
1 small onion cut into wedges
3 tbsp crushed lemongrass
1 tbsp raw ginger cut in strips
1 cup coconut milk
juice of one lime
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
1tbsp cilantro
Siracha to taste

Combine broth, chicken, carrot, lemongrass, ginger and sugar in pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms and onion and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add lime juice, peppers and cabbage and cook for 5 minutes before adding lime juice and coconut milk. Depending on how hot you like it, add Siracha to taste. Top with cilantro and serve. Such amazing comfort food!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leek Veggie Soup

I've never cooked with leeks before and with them currently in season, now is the perfect time . I was very excited about my leek undertaking (I geek out about food, what can I say) and for my first venture, I decided to make a brightly flavored leek and vegetable soup.  I found that the tartness of the lemon juice and the mild, onion-flavor of the leeks balanced beautifully.
One large stalk of leek cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, cut into semi-circles
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup whole canned tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Once oil is heated, add the leeks, garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften. Add the carrots and continue to cook for 2-3  minutes.

Add the stock, tomatoes and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pizza Margherita

The day I realized I wasn't going to be able to find a good Margherita pie in Columbia was the day I went out and bought a pizza pan and ingredients. One of the highlights of living in NYC (foodwise) was that at any time of day, pretty much whatever area you were in, you could get a decent slice of Margherita pizza...oh how I miss those days. If you ever find yourself in Park Slope, Brooklyn, check out Peppe's . It's an unassuming storefront joint, right next to the Prospect Ave R train stop, whose pies have caused a buzz among pizza lovers. Their chewy crust and simple sauce made from canned imported San Marzano tomatoes is bright, fresh-tasting and lightly seasoned. Sadly, I lack a coal oven, so my substitute isn't quite the same, but what can ya do?

Enter, delightful homemade pizza:
Pre-made dough (just makes life easier)
1 small bunch basil cut in a chiffonade
1 cup Fresh mozzarella ciliegine (small mozzarella balls)
1 1/2 cups canned whole Roma tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find 'em)
4 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Cover bottom of pizza pan with 2 tsp olive oil and spread dough thinly over pan. Cook dough in oven for 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and drizzle remaining olive oil over pie. Cut tomatoes roughly and squeeze to remove moisture (I find this prevents the pie from getting soppy or wet). Scatter tomatoes and cheese over pie and cook for 9-13 minutes, until edges brown and the cheese is bubbling. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle basil over. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Indulge and love it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peshawari Chappli Kabab Pitas

I was a new Arabic shop in Columbia, Olive Cafe, and came across a spice mix for spicy ground beef patties. This mix has a variety of fragrant spices, which were pretty spicy, but in a flavorful way. The patties reminded me of a carnivorous version of falafel. I'm not sure of the proportions, but here's the listing from the package: salt, red chili, coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic, dehydrated onion, pomegranate seeds, fine flour (wheat), black pepper, black cumin, cinnamon, mace, bay leaf, fenugreek leaves, carom, citric acid.

1 lbs ground beef
1 small onion finely chopped
* 1/2 small green pepper finely chopped
1 clove smashed, minced garlic
3 tsp grated ginger
2 eggs
1 package of Peshawari Chappli spice mixture (use less for mild hot flavor)
1 cup vegetable oil

Israeli Salad
1 small cucumber cut into small cubes
3 roma tomatoes cut into small cubes (seeds removed)
1/4 small red onion finely diced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all salad ingredients and marinade in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Thoroughly combine kebab ingredients (except for oil), cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, warm oil in large fry pan to medium high heat. With wet hands, form thin flat 3 inch round kebab patties. Fry in hot oil until brown and crispy on each side.

Serve in pita with hummus and salad.

*original recipe calls for 3 green chilies, rather than green pepper, but Kyler and I thought it was pretty spicy to begin with. If your stomach can handle crazy spicy food, feel free to sub chilies for green pepper.