Sunday, January 31, 2010

Busy Cooking Weekend!

Yesterday afternoon, after a trip to the store, The Pedant and I spend a snowy afternoon cooking up a storm. We made a fantastic dinner plus lots of food for the week. Now that I'm back in school and coming home late and TP working long hours again, we needed to make sure we have lots of extra food on hand. Going out to eat is fun, but not worth wasting the money or calories for sub-par lunch options!!

So here's a round up of the great food we cooked for the week:

Cauliflower Salad from everyone's favorite Monk. It was basically easy - steam cauliflower (we just boiled it in some water since we had it boiling for some later), put it in a bowl with hard boiled eggs, shallots and capers. Make a tasty dressing with hazelnut oil, EVOO, dijon, white wine vinegar and tarragon (which we didn't have so we used herbs de provonance). I tasted it and it was really good. I think it will get better in the next few days in the fridge.

Southwest Egg Muffins from Pinch My Salt. I found this recipe a while ago and printed it out. I decided to make some egg cups for freezing for quick, easy breakfasts or lunches. Like a mini fritata! I hadn't tried this recipe but it came out well. I did use less eggs but I think it came out fine. I bought egg substitute (because 8 whole eggs just seemed grotesque for someone who grew up eating mostly egg whites!) and misread the bottle so I used 4 egg's worth. I think it was fine.

Veggie Egg Cups from Slashfood. I made this last year and enjoyed it. This year it worked well too. (Although harder to get the muffin tins cleaner than I remembered!!) The cups were a little runnier when we took them out of the oven but still looked tasty.

Saturday Night Italian Feast!!

Dinner was a great feast complete with leftovers for the week. I decided to make stuffed shells which I never had before. They turned out well. I mixed some ricotta cheese with frozen spinach and stuffed the shells with that. (Note: I will need more than one tub of ricotta and 1 box of spinach next time...) I made a really simple tomato sauce and topped them with just a bit of mozzarella cheese. The only problem was that the shells broke in the box so we were left with lots of pieces. Solution: Appetizer of broken shell pieces with some EVOO, Parmesan, sea salt and red pepper flakes.

We made 2 salads: orange and red onion salad which I love. It's sweet and sour and savory and salty. And easy: just use rounds of oranges and slices of red onions, place on platter (or our case, rectangular container for easier clean up), drizzle with EVOO and sea salt. The other was from the best monk and was a Venetian Gorgonzola Salad. It made a lot so we have plenty left over. It was arugula, endive, radicchio, frisse, granny smith apples, walnuts, Gorgonzola and a dijon-based dressing. It was perfect. Elegant and classic.

We also made lunch yesterday from last week's Minimalist column: the fried rice. It was simple and perfect and delicious. Definitely becoming part of the rotation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's been a long time since I posted. I am going to try to focus on short posts which probably won't have all the fancy links. (That's a lot of work!)

This post will have 2 parts: food I cooked last week and food I ate in NYC this weekend.

Food I cooked

I don't remember much of last week other than I did cook. Wednesday I made a great dinner. We had the best soup ever: Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Apricots. It was super easy and really fantastic. It was like eating candy for dinner which I was totally ok with. To go along with that I made Moroccan Chickpeas with apples that was in the Washington Post a few months ago and it was also really great. The two complimented each other very well.

Food I ate in NYC

The Pedant and I went to NYC this weekend for a minivacation. We got to eat some good food. We met some friends at Le Pain Quotidian which recently opened a location on the UWS. I got their hot chocolate which was to die for. We had dinner with TP's sister and she made some cheesetastic foods that were amazing. We had lunch with TP's sister and several family members. The best part about Saturday: Korenet's pizza near Columbia which has GIANT slices. The problem with the DC area is that the pizza is by no means as good as NY pizza. You can get great "artisinal" pizza but nothing that's really like NY pizza. We also went to a local coffee shop/dessert place near Columbia that I spend many an afternoon "studying" (i.e., drinking coffee and eating tasty pastries).

Sunday we got bagels which were good. Not the best bagels I had in NYC ever but very tasty. I miss NY Bagels so much some days. We had a late lunch with friends at Zen Palate which was tasty even though the service sucked.

I start up school again soon which sadly means most of my cooking will be relegated to the weekends but stay tuned for info on that!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Belated Parker's Post

I went to Parker's a long time ago, during the barbecue-tasting tour my brother calls the "ham hajj," but I only blog about it now because things have calmed down.

The new year brought a renewal to my job search, and finally, I got a job.

But you, as the reader, say, paraphrasing Positive K in "I Got A Man," "what's your job got to do with me?" The answer is that, until I stopped sending out mass resume mailings, I had trouble finding time to talk about the second-to-last stop on PorkFest 2009.

Parker's is an establishment of traditional simplicity. The decor is 1960's cheap. There are four main courses: chopped barbecued pork, fried chicken, fried chicken livers, and barbecued chicken. Sides are fries or boiled potatoes, coleslaw or Brunswick stew, and hush puppies and "corn sticks," aka unsweetened hush puppies.

All you can eat is $8.95.

The pork was Carolina traditional, vinegary and tasty, but my favorite food there was the chicken liver. It was fried to hearty, crispy, meaty goodness. If you're not a big fan of organ meats (and since I ended up eating chicken heart in Japan before figuring out what it was - the cardiac septum has a distinctive crunch - I'm cool with much more usual organ foods, like tripe and liver), this won't hide the liver-ness for you; it's not like fried okra. You still taste the liver. But it is awesome.

The Brunswick stew ain't bad, either, and the boiled potatoes are way better than the fries. Don't bother with the fries. The corn sticks and hush puppies are better.