Category Archives: Recipes

Memorable Month – January

I resoluted 12 photo entries – so what was memorable through the first 31 days of the new year?

• I started off the year making popovers.
p0p0v3rs
Though technically I started NYE, it ran that long since the recipe made nearly twice as many as it claimed, and they take about an hour each batch! No worries, they were eaten throughout the night with butter, salt and washed down with champagne.

• I didn’t take pictures of the snow, since I am sure you have no interest in seeing any more.
b0wts However, my new boots, which I had just ordered from LL bean hours before they completely sold out (really, I checked back later, no sizes left!) and which arrived before Christmas, made their debut in the early January snowstorm. They have performed perfectly well since then and absolutely worth the investment, as I plod through slushy curbsides and subway platforms.

What happened to my old worn out boots that still fit like a glove?
m4zb0wt Still safe under the watchful eyes of Max.

• Pizza at Lombardis with a friend who came to NYC for a workation.

Yes her other hand says 'Time'. Don't worry, she's nice!

Yes her other hand says ‘Time’

Haven’t seen her in almost 8 years – it was great catching up. The pizza was good, a little too expensive for toppings (homemade mozzarella was $4), but a small fed 2 people well on a cold winter night. The Sangria helped as well!

• Gussie the cat found a blue string that has become her most favorite thing ever. c4tst Watching her play with it has become my most favorite thing ever.

• I found this brilliant red wine, recommended by my preferred wine shop just a few blocks from my job (they know how to interpret my gibberish).
redwine It goes for around $16. Not too dry or fruity, with a deep red color. It is full bodied and ‘meaty’ as the label claimed (no overt berry or other flavors, which was ok) with a quick clean finish, no lingering tannins. It went perfect with pasta, savory sauce, meatballs and fried eggplant. I get a lot of flack for my red wine choices, but everyone loved the ‘simple’ fullness of each glass.

Already looking for, and making, the moments in February!

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Filed under Cats, Life, New York City, Photo Blogs, Recipes, Resolutions, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wine

Ketchup #7: An Alternative to Healthy

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to share a favorite holiday recipe with them. For once, there is no Heinz-inspired word limit. Just don’t go overboard. (God, I HATED that movie.) Ketchup With Us

To me, the challenge is to have a recipe so simple it fits in 57 words or less, and takes very little time. So I did it anyway. Then I remembered / decided to add the garlic. Garlic justifies extra words, so I don’t feel so bad about it. 

This is a great go-to, and it stars a veggie, which makes it healthy. Just keep telling yourself ‘healthy’. 

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Bag of fresh Brussels Sprouts (NOT frozen)

4 ounces walnuts/ pine nuts (pignolis)

4 ounces chopped bacon/ pancetta

3 cloves garlic, crushed and rough chopped (NOT minced)

Bread crumbs and grated cheese (optional)

Fry the bacon, nuts (add garlic halfway to prevent burning/bitterness) in a medium deep pot until browned. Spoon the mix out onto paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the pot (Leave the gun. Take the cannoli). Pare & halve the sprouts, add to oil with ½ – ¾ cup water. Boil until sprouts are soft and/or water is evaporated. Pour sprouts into serving bowl, add meat/ nuts, toss. Serve immediately, as cold sprouts = gah.

*Your other option is to pour into a casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and grated cheese, and broil for a few minutes to crust up.

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Filed under Food, Ketchup With Us, Recipes

A Winning Combination

About a month ago, with a simple tweet of “Half & Half, no sugar” to Dunkin Donuts twitter feed, I won this:

Just put a pinch between your cheek and gum.

Good enough on it’s own of course. Around this time of year though, DD and Starbucks add a shot or two of artificial flavors to enhance the price coffee experience, then take it away just as suddenly. I did enjoy the pumpkin spice lattes, but the price is ridiculous and I wondered if I can make this my damn self. Well I knew I COULD, I just needed a recipe to help me along.

Searching the webnets, I found The Budding Baketress has the perfect pumpkin spice syrup recipe. What’s the secret? Actual pumpkin mix, not just the spices. Such revolutionary methods! It’s incredibly easy and enjoyable well past the times that the coffee chains dictate when you should be allowed to enjoy it. Again, revolutionary!

Also do not limit her to that recipe – the buttermilk biscuits are also yummy!

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Filed under Contests, Food, Life, Recipes

Banana Muffins

Summertime equals fresh fruit. It also means, with heat and humidity, quick-ripening fruit. Some are versatile, and have a good shelf life, like apples and pears. Others, like bananas, can turn one shade to another within a day or two. Depending on your personal preference, it may be the difference between eating them, and deciding that they are too brown and soft to eat. Seems like a waste, and in my house, many times it was.

However, one person’s “ewww gross!” fully ripened banana, is another’s “perfect!” If you are adding them to your Cheerios, it’s probably the former. If you have a banana bread/muffin recipe, you are the latter.

In fact, since you started reading this, it is already too late…you have descended into the realm of the latter. Good for you!

Here is the recipe that I have faithfully used for over 10 years. As you can see, I make it often – it’s incredibly easy, and there’s a steady supply of ‘nanas around here. You can also see that I typed it on NotePad (yes I used word wrap). Typing out the directions here would be redundant, so just follow along with the directions and photos!

Some extra notes…
–I’m making muffins, which only changes the cooking time, about 35 minutes a batch. Also, you can use those paper cups or butter the pan, it’s your choice.
–Walnuts are suggested, but you can leave them out, or sub for choco chips (which I am doing here) or use both. Keep in mind it will yield more than listed if you add more ingredients
–When mashing the bananas, no need to make them into paste. Some small banana chunks in there will keep it moist and even more flavorful.

The Directions

Everything you need. Note the bananas, which look like chocolate at this point. Perfect.

Blend the sugar and butter. Resist the temptation to taste a smidge of it. Oh what the hell, go ahead. Yes it’s so wrong.

After adding the eggs, you will get this smooth mixture. If you didn’t sneak a taste before, it’s too late now!

After adding bananas, it will look less enticing to take a spoonful for yourself! All ‘wet’ ingredients are now mixed. On to the dry.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients together (of course you can’t tell here!). Stir it together with a fork to ensure everything mixes nicely. You will pour this into the larger bowl of wet ingredients, keeping in mind to fold it gently, not like a cake batter.

Choco chips (or whatever you are adding) are also gently stirred in, and you are ready to start filling the cups/tray.

Done! Be sure to hide some away from the greedy, unappreciative masses, but reward the faithful believers that will follow you to the ends of the Earth with a couple of these.
If you store them in the fridge or not is up to you. Reheating in a microwave takes about 15-20 seconds.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Recipes

Guack-a-Mole!

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t subject the world to one more use of “Holy Guacamole!” for a recipe post. So yes a play on the Whack-a-Mole games that are in amusement parks. You will have more success with this recipe though, guaranteed!

You’re welcome!

So I lucked out last week when avocados were not only on sale, but perfectly ripe! Chances are that you do have a guac recipe, but what’s one more right? Plus I might do something different. Keep in mind you do not need to use all the ingredients here; I’ve take out and added as they are available (besides the avocados which are slightly important). Even a batch as simple as avocados, cilantro and garlic will suffice. I used to omit the onions, but now I rinse them under cold water to get most of the pungent juice out.

Anyway here is what you will need. (All images are clickable for full size)

  • 2 avocados – ripe (dark brown and soft/yielding when you lightly press the bottom.
  • plum tomato, seeded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • Handful of cilantro, rinsed and stemmed 
  •  1/2 inch wedge of a medium red/white onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • Big mixing bowl
  • big spoon or potato masher

In some particular order:

Cut avocados in half and scoop out the  big ol’ seed.

You’ll know that the avocados are perfect by the texture and more importantly the buttery flavor of the flesh. 

 Next, clean out the seeds/pulp of the tomato and rough cut.

Cleaning them out keeps it from being too mushy, turning brown faster, and rought cut is ok since they will get mashed up soon anyway.

Dice the onion. Onion doesn’t mash as much so cut according to
your preference on onion piece size.

It always looks like too much onion to me, so I add some, and then taste at the end, adding more if I need it. Better safe than sorry.

Chop the cilantro. The best way is to kind of pull it into a tight bunch and cut it that way. You don’t need to get all of the stems off, mainly the stalks. This way you get the flavor of the leaves without the bitterness or texture of the stalk.

Next, slice and seed the jalapeno.

The heat in a jalapeno is in the seeds, the flesh has some heat, but  agood crunch and is one of the good flavors that defines Mexican cooking. So I seed it (stripping the rib as well), and dice it into very small pieces.

You’re in the home stretch!

Squeeze the lime.

Like the onion, I start conservatively and do not use the entire amount. Half of a lime usually suffices. You do not need a lemon/lime squeezer, but they are definitely fun gadgets that get every drop of juice out – works great with cocktails too!

Shake a little salt, pepper and pepper flakes (last one is optional).

Ok you are ready to go…oh wait I forgot the garlic!! Smash the garlic with a heavy knife and rough cut, then add.

Lookit those vibrant colors, reminding you of a Mexican flag.  NOW you are ready to guack a mole!

Always a good way to relieve some stress. Keep mashing and turning until all ingredients are incorporated.

And you’re done!

Transfer to a smaller container. I took the picture before packing it up, since it looks like a galaxy. Which is fitting because this Guac is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Ok yes bad joke.

The final, most importantest step ever:

Clean up after yo’self! No one likes a messy person! Plus if you eliminate all visible evidence that you made guacamole, people won’t start comin’ round with chips in hand, looking to dip in your stash!

Perfect as a topping for tacos, burritos, nachos, with tortilla chips, either store bought, or soft corn tortillas cut into six/eight pieces and deep fried until golden. After drying and while draining, splash a little salt and lime juice on them.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes

More whine, less cheese

Wining- Right now a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Summation (white) blend is half-done, after several nights of single glasses. It’s as promised, semi-sweet, no dryness, an underlying honeydew & mild honeysuckle on a creamy base, just a touch of spice to finish and bring me to reality. Not overly fruity, and a clear light yellow. I had this with a medium spicy Manhattan clam chowder; the pairing was ok, though I did not alternate hot soup with chilled wine. It did not clash with the meal, and a glass afterwards cleared my palate. I would drink this again, as I do like it better than the chardonnay, which has a darker yellow color, heavier ‘feel’ in my mouth/tongue and strong perfume/flavor of citrus fruits that does not pair with pasta or fish at all, for me. Perhaps I would pair that with a fish with something like a chutney or mango salsa. Will try it – all in the name of research!

Wreading – Star Wars: Choices of One, Timothy Zahn. An unofficial sequel to “Allegiance”, this book takes the adventures of Zahn-created characters (Mara Jade, Thrawn, the rogue stormtroopers) into a little more depth. Clearly attention needs to be paid to the contexts of ranking, status and mindsets of the characters. As this story takes place between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”, it’s technically ‘filler’, but has it uses in the Expanded Universe.

Whining…in Dining– I wrote a letter to Starbucks, asking why they raised the price of regular coffee the same 10 cents as the skinnydoublemochafrappocrapo with whip- which costs over twice as much, and requires several more steps/equipment/ingredients than my plain ground bean beverage. I won’t be buying SB until I have an answer – will post the letter, and response if I get one. Also wrote a positive/negative letter to Popeye’s; the positives were that the place was clean, and the shift manager had her place running like a well-oiled machine. No attitudes at all. The negative was that they still managed to forget the biscuit in my 3 piece meal deal. The biscuit seals the deal; hell I would have preferred they left out a piece of chicken over the biscuit. Or even the beverage/cup, since I rarely drink soda anyway! Again, will wait on a response.

Wrecipes – I found one for buttermilk biscuits. Yes I will attempt it. I need closure.

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Filed under 50 Books in 2012, Books, Complaints, Compliments, Food, Reading, Recipes, Restaurants, Whining, Wine