Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quick Cucumber Pickle

Adding vinegar to cucumbers morphs them into almost a pickle. Not quite, but close. To do real pickling, it takes a bit more time and effort and well, I had neither of that when I made these. But they taste way fresher than any crappy store-bought, sitting-in-a-jar forever pickle. Really, just add any sort of vinegar you so desire and maybe a herb or spice or two. Little salt and pepper and you got yourself a lovely little side dish. I used ume plum vinegar, which gives it an almost sweet, but pungent bite.

All you have to do is thinly slice the cucumbers (I used two), width wise, and throw into a bowl. Add about 2T vinegar, a tablespoon or two of chopped herbs (I had dried dill on hand) and some salt and pepper to your liking. You can choose to drain some of the juice that is released when you add salt to cucumbers, but I didn't bother. I like using that as an almost vinegar when sauteing vegetables. It's similar to a vegetable stock, but without all the hassle. (Okay, it's not really, it's more comparable to salty water with a hint of vinegar, but it still makes veggies taste better!)  Waste not, I say. But that's a different post entirely...

Use these quick cucumber pickles as an accompaniment for falafels, sandwiches or anytime you want a crisp, salty refreshing bite.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Daikon Radish Salad with Dulse Flakes

Daikon radish looks sorta like an over-sized white carrot, but tastes like a much milder red radish. It's used in lots of asian dishes, like kimchi or as an accompaniment to Vietnamese sandwiches. Daikons are highly versatile and super good for you. You can saute it with other vegetables to make a stir-fry, or braise it in some good veggie stock. I chose to shred it on a cheese grater and added dulse flakes, thyme, peppers and sesame oil. Dulse is a sea vegetable that is reddish-purple in color. It grows on rocks along the Atlantic Ocean. It's also amazingly versatile and contains all trace minerals (which is essential to good health) and also has lots of protein and vitamins. You can find it in flake form at any health food store. I used the Eden brand.

Here's the Recipe: 
2 Daikon Radishes (peeled and grated)
3T Dulse flakes
2T fresh thyme (save a sprig for decoration if you so fancy)
3T pepper (any pepper will do, I used jalapeno and minced it finely)
2T sesame oil or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the daikon radishes' skin with a vegetable peeler and grate it. Put in a bowl and add the dulse flakes. Let sit for a couple minutes so the flakes can soften up a bit. Then add the thyme, pepper and sesame oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. And there you have it. Real easy.

Yields about four servings

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Open-Faced Herbed Egg Salad Sandwich

Getting eggs perfectly hard-boiled is really quite simple. Once you know this technique, it's completely fool-proof. First, add eggs to a sauce pan and fill with enough cool water to let the eggs move freely. Bring water to a boil and then turn off heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly nine minutes. No more, no less. Then, put eggs in a colander and run cold water over them for about 30 seconds. Put directly in the fridge. (Cooling them down makes peeling way easier) Done and done. 
Here's what I added to my herbed egg salad: 
sage from fire escape herb garden
and also rosemary
and some basil and chives
So, this Herbed Egg Salad Sandwich is quite easy. It just involves choppin up some herbs and adding them to the egg mixture with some mayonaise/mustard/garlic. 
Four hard-boiled organic* eggs (peeled and mashed up)**
3 T fresh herbs (chopped)
3T mayonaise or veganaise
2T mustard
1t garlic (minced)
salt and pepper to taste

Mash up the eggs with the mayonnaise and mustard. And then add the rest of the ingredients. Pile it on some good bread and add a basil leaf to make it pretty. Simple!!  

*It's super important to use organic eggs cause you don't know what kind of shit the farmers will feed the chickens to produce more eggs on conventional farms. (Like ground up other chickens! Sad and gross on so many levels.)  I actually got these eggs from my friend's chickens. She raises them in her backyard in Red Hook.

**You can also easily do this with tofu instead of eggs. Simply pat dry some extra firm tofu by wrapping it in a tea cloth for about ten minutes. (Basically you do this so you don't have soggy, wet tofu salad!) I like to saute the tofu for a bit in a skillet with some olive oil and salt, so it's not raw and also helps to get rid of excess water. Then just follow the same directions.

Yields about 4 servings

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creepy Dutch girl statue

My half-dutch friend Kip and I went to this set up "Dutch village" that's part of the week long celebration of all things Dutch. It's an honor of the 400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson coming to Manhatta and purchasing it for $24 from the Native Americans. Ah, colonialism at its best. They had all the prototypical Dutch wares: stroopwafels (maple syrup filled cookies), Gouda cheese, wooden clogs, tulips, herring sandwiches and this creepy dutch girl statue.


Kip (who's name means chicken in dutch!) and I proceeded to immediately purchase poffertjes (tiny pancakes slathered in butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar) upon arrival at the Dutch village.  

Klompen, klompen, klompen!!

Wooden shoes (klompen) at the Dutch village. I love how they fashioned shoe laces into the wooden shoes. Like its necessary. Also, the tiger face klompen. Amazing. 

Windmill on Wall Street!

This little makeshift village, across the street from Battery Park, even had its own windmill. I couldn't help but be a tourist and take dorky photos in front of it. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

rosewater marzipan

Rosewater Marzipan from Cyprus. 
It's like eating a sweetened rose garden. Best. flavor. ever. 
PS: I just found out about this Ben and Jerry's ice cream called Mission to Marzipan. I must find it! 
I have a bit of an obsession with marzipan. When I lived in Amsterdam I would buy marzipan covered  chocolate candy bars sometimes twice a day from this chain candy store called Jamin. Seriously, this place was amazing. Endless varieties of marzipan confections. 

Long Island tomatoes

My friend Soraya brought these tomatoes back from Long Island where her boyfriend's mom grows them in her backyard. These were some of the best tomatoes I've had in awhile. On par with even the heirloom ones. There must be something about the soil in Long Island. All we needed to add to the tomatoes is a drizzling of olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of fresh thyme. Summer awesome. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blueberry Molasses Cake

I got this recipe from an amazing website called that Heidi Swanson runs. (She wrote a fantastic cookbook called Super Natural Cooking) She had found a recipe for blueberry molasses cake in an old Gourmet magazine from 1974. She adjusted it a bit and made it a bit healthier. I followed her recipe exactly except I used rice milk instead of regular milk and it turned out great. I used blueberries that weren't very sweet which accentuated the molasses, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing. It gave the cake a subtle mellow sweetness, with a hint of smokiness. Lovely. 
Here's the recipe: 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
5 tablespoons milk (divided)
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, barely melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen (I freeze fresh berries)
1 teaspoon flour

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan (or equivalent).
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the cider vinegar with 3 tablespoons of the milk. In another bowl whisk the molasses with the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk the cider vinegar mixture into the molasses mixture, then whisk in the eggs. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just barely combined. Stir in the butter. Toss the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of flour and fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about thirty minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes. Turn out of the pan and serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the side*. 

*I used a heavy whipping cream, added a bit of sugar and then got my friend to whip the hell out of it until it became light and fluffy. Delicious!!

Serves 8 - 10.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kohlrabi and Patty Pan Squash Empanadas

Kohlrabi is one strange looking vegetable. It's the one on the right that looks like a crazy purple turnip with long stems poking out every which way. This variety is called a 'Purple Danube.' I like that. I think it's beautiful in its weirdness. Patty pan too. It's a  summer squash that's either yellow or yellow with green specks that looks like a flying saucer. Both vegetables are mellow in flavor and endlessly versatile. 
I was told kohlrabi is nice just chopped up raw and served in a salad. But that just sounds so boring. The past couple days in Brooklyn have been almost chilly, and I'm just getting plain sick of salads. I wanted something more substantial. I think I'm craving the autumn air and I love cooking when it's not sweltering outside. I found a recipe online at: that mixed kohlrabi and squash together and use it for stuffing in an empanada. Perfect. This recipe is probably the most labor intensive one thus far on this blog. Luckily, my friend Eunice helped me chop up the vegetables into tiny tiny small dice. (She also took these amazing photos!)
Here's the recipe: 
2 medium kohlrabies (peeled and chopped into small dice*)
*small dice is 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 inch cubes to be exact
2 summer squashes (peeled and chopped into small dice)
2T olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T peeled and minced ginger
about 3 ready made pie crusts ( i got lazy and didn't fee like making empanada dough from scratch)
1 egg
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a saute pan. When heated, add the kohlrabi along with the garlic and ginger. Saute for a couple minutes and then add the squash. Saute for another couple minutes until the veggies are a bit tender but still have a nice crunch to them. Set aside. 
Roll out the pie crust dough onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, make the dough thinner than you would a pie crust. Use a cereal bowl or some sort of round circle that is 6 inches in width to cut out shapes. Put dough on a parchment lined baking pan and scoop about 1T of kohlrabi/squash mixture into middle of dough circle. Fold over to make a half circle and use a fork to press the edges down. Coat the empanada with an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you so desire. 
Bake for about 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet Corn and Peach Salad

Sweet Corn and Peach Salad
So, I noticed a theme to all my food concoctions thus far. They're all pretty easy and require really, not even much of a strict recipe. Take this one. It's basically just combining really great fresh produce together. Summer's harvest is a beautiful thing. Fresh sweet corn off the cob. This corn is insanely sweet, no need to even really heat it up, you can eat it raw. I only sauteed it with a bit of green pepper and garlic to just accentuate the great flavor. Added fresh local peaches and baby tomatoes. These tomatoes also were some of the sweetest produce I've tasted in a while. Mother nature, you're one fine lady. This years' crop is blowing my mind. (Blueberries this year, also, sooo unbelievably sweet!)
In conclusion, this salad is really just slicin and dicin some fruit and veg and adding about a 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil and juice of half a lemon and some salt and pepper. That's it. It's always good to balance out sweet and salt. Like, say you add olive oil, it's beneficial to add an acid such as lemon, lime or any kind of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, rice, etc). Easy. And so tasty.