Friday, July 27, 2007

Seared Tuna Steaks with (first of the season) Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Wild Mushroom Risotto

On my way home last night (after a long day at the office, he he!) I decided to surprise my hubby with his favorite dinner. Since my favorite fish monger was not at the farmers market I caved and headed to Whole Foods to pick up this sashimi grade tuna steak which I lightly seasoned and seared. Look out Blue Water Grill... When searing fish try to use a nonstick pan and DONT TOUCH IT until it's ready to turn, about 4 minutes each side for a medium sized filet.

The brussels sprouts were small, tender and a bit crisp as I made them with some sauteed garlic scapes (you must try these if you can find them somewhere, they are the tops of the garlic plant).

The wild mushroom risotto was made by sauteeing oyster, shitake, and crimini mushrooms and fresh thyme in olive oil then adding the traditional orzo rice to pan to coat all the rice. (Don't forget not to add salt until the mushrooms begin to give off some water) After about 2 minutes of toasting the orzo and infusing the mushroomy goodness you begin adding chicken or veggie broth, about a cup at a time letting most of the liquid become absorbed before adding more. G is a pro at helping with this part!

There you have it. This is a simple and quick meal. You can make a few large filets of tuna and slice them over the risotto to serve at a dinner party. It's a nice way to make your guests feel special and doesn't require an entire filet for each person.

We're off to Chi-town for the weekend and will post photos when we return. Happy Friday :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

i must own this immediately....

this was just too cute to keep to myself.

let's see which wonderful person in my life (ahem) will be first to join me in the adventure of finding this new kitchen gadget somewhere in downtown nyc tomorrow....

the prize for this wonderful person will be a giant home made birthday cupcake. i might even share my special red velvet recipe, if you are nice.

i'm taking bidders starting,! what do you say em???

p.s. if you don't have sur la table next door, you can order yours here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

the hunter and the hunted

It's only fitting that todays post be dedicated to the other furry creature in my world, to whom the world is a stage and I will act whatever play she deems fit. The truth is, we are absolutely nuts over these guys (Lola & Smokey) and I can't imagine how silly we must look to the outside world. Oh well... they're happy, which means we're happy, and if you ask me, that's all that matters!

Just to make sure that I maintain a culinary spin, I have added a shot of a fantastic and easy summer recipe to make as a spread for company or to serve as an appetizer before dinner.

Either way, you cannot go wrong with this recipe. That is, of course, unless you don't like caviar or fresh fish. In which case you don't belong on this site so move along... Just kidding.

Anyway, it is my double salmon and dill dip served with fresh pita and pita chips. The recipe was adapted from epicurious and goes a little something like this:

Double Salmon Dip with Fresh Dill

(Hint: you can always just click on the underlined title to view the whole recipe)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

there's always room for chocolate

This is my adaptation of the chocolate zucchini cake made famous by Clotilde Dusoulier. Mine are made as miniature bundt cakes and are as cute as they are practical. (And the only way G will eat vegetables, just kidding!)

I really can't claim much other than following a recipe, dumping in a bit extra in the chocolate department (it's second nature). Oh, and adding some yogurt boosts the creaminess factor.

All and all, it's a great way to deliciously ensure portion control :)

In other news, the weather is now beyond fantastic in the city which is a double edged sword...while it makes writing papers extremely unbearable, sunsets from the roof overlooking the city are magnificent, as is a nice glass of cote du rhone. Speaking of...

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cakes (with a little extra chocolate, cause hey...who's going to eat the rest of the bag if you just leave it?)

Monday, July 23, 2007

it's in the bag...

Sometimes I wish I were as content with our small digs as my little boy Smokey. I couldn't
resist posting a photo of him relaxing on a recently unpacked suitcase.

No new dishes tonight, it was the chef's night off :) I did try a new recipe for chocolate zucchini cake, courtesy of the ever adorable Clotilde Dusoulier, that was fan-tastic. I made them in baby bundt pans, perfect for a nighttime snack for the hubby and I. Perhaps I'll post a photo of them tomorrow.

For now, it's back to shnoozing for me and this little one...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

fancy that, a recipe request

By popular demand, okay so it was only one request--but from whom i am so flattered that i must promptly respond-below you will find the recipe for the clafouti from several days ago. If there are other recipe requests please let me know, if I had known anyone really wanted to make this stuff I would have posted them from the get go!

The flapjacks that I promised to post about while great tasting, didn't photograph so well. I have become as paranoid about food-tography (can i copyright that?) as my cute little hubby. Buckwheat is a little camera shy, I guess....

Instead I will share with you a photo of our monkfish tacos from last night. The monkfish was fresh from the Atlantic, picked up from our favorite fish monger at the farmers market yesterday. What a pleasure to buy from the guys who reeled in this beauty but a day ago. I digress...

I served these fish tacos with a homemade relish (roasted corn, quartered cherry tomatoes, black beans, diced chiles), fresh baby cabbage marinaded in a splash of oil & vinegar and then finished off with a homemade tzaziki of sorts (fage, dill & garlic). What a surprising treat, we will certainly be enjoying this healthy meal again soon. Perfect for the warm weather and what a way to enjoy the flavors of summer!

and without further ado...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

i do not like green eggs and ham, but i do like green comma eggs and ham!

So we were left with some prociutto and pesto from last nights meal (I know, such a shame) and after our visit to the green market we decided to use fresh eggs to make a meal that would tickle even the picky palate of a man named Sam! A lovely and simple breakfast of toasted whole grain bread, two eggs over easy, basil pesto, prociutto and bianca cheese. Stay tuned for tomorrows breakfast of buckwheat flapjacks with juicy sugar plums.

Thanks to G for the cute title!

Friday, July 20, 2007

the secret to my success: a farmers life for me

Okay, so there is no real secret... at least not one that every home cook hasn't already figured out. The key to incredible meals is fresh ingredients.

you can't tell but these were HUGE squash; currants ; currants, gooseberries and sugarplums

Living in Union Square we are blessed with a phenomenal green market market bursting with an abundance of delicacies from veggies and eggs to flowers and cheese, four days a week. How dare I speak of moving to the burbs when this paradise is but a five minute walk from my front door?

sugarplums; peaches

This morning I thought I would share with you some photos the hubby took while wrangling the dog, holding a dozen bags and keeping track of a wandering wife. Told you he was amazing...

fresh herbs from Keith's; sweet and sour cherries; raspberries

Thursday, July 19, 2007

in vino veritas

I think my favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning, sitting with my little pup in the dog run, talking to the locals in the dog run. It's about this time of day that my darling hubby calls to check in and I get to ask him what he wants for dinner. It usually goes something like this:

Me: Good morning love! I'm about ready to hit the farmers market, what shall I create for you this evening?
Cute Hubby: How about a twist on saltimbocca, how Dolce Vita makes it?
Me: Perfect! String beans look good and I'll get some fresh cheese from Bobolink if they have something gratable.

And voila! Dinner is created.

In honor of my darling hubby and his favorite dish (and mine!), I created saltimbocca with a twist by rolling some pounded thin chicken breast with freshly made basil pesto, grated gruyere and prosciutto, seared all the sides to brown and then simmered in chicken stock. This was fantastic with some whole wheat gnocchi from trader's that I sauteed in olive oil and fresh thyme until it was browned, yum! And the addition of some fresh string beans quickly cooked with keith's organic garlic on the stovetop rounded out a perfect meal.

OH! And the best part was the Chateauneuf Des Papes (2002) that was sitting on our wine rack begging to be drank. This bad boy had certainly calmed since we popped the last bottle a little less than a year ago and the flavors were in perfect harmony. It was absolutely delicious with the saltimbocca, crispy gnocchi and garlic string beans! Wish we had more...

After a few bites.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

hooray for birthdays and relatives!

Hooray for birthdays!

Thanks to Cousin Peggi & the Schmelter Clan (Daniel, Jeff & Lee) I am the proud new owner of this (too cute to use but not to display!) grater. I'm sure you are all jealous of this uber-cute kitchen accessory so I will tell you that it's from a company called Nonni and this cute girl (shall I name her Nonni?) will most certainly be welcoming other members to her grater family, get it--grater!, as soon as I find out where these cute knick nacks are sold.
So, thank you so much Cuz, you always remember the milestones and celebrate them so perfectly!
Stay tuned for a post later this evening describing the tempting meal that this girl helps me create...

Without a flash she is even cuter!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

clafouti deconstructed

After last weekends visit to the farmers market I found myself with an abundance of cherries and a craving for this yummy take on a classic french tart/custard, and a twist on this traditional clafouti is born.

I might just share my recipe on this one, if you ask nicely....

...since you asked so nicely :)

Monday, July 9, 2007

one more saturday night

okay so it wasn't really saturday but sunday night, rather. and it's not nearly as interesting as if i actually owned a victrola, or a simple record player for that matter...

what this is, however, is a retroactive post (and the reason for this whole blog business in the first place) about our funny little life in the center of the universe. otherwise known as new york city.

it might not strike you as odd, but for this little midwestern girl thrown smack dab in the middle of this monstrous city (please don't feel bad for me, i push people out of the way all the time :) and hey, i've been here almost 10 years) to have the wonders of a country life in the midst of the concrete jungle in which we live is quite remarkable. and thus sprung the idea of this here blog.

i digress....

me: going to the farmers market honey, shall i see if there are any more avocado squash to make with the scallops for dinner?
husband: sure, also can you see if the guys at berryknoll have any more of the heirloom tomatoes and purple basil, that shrimp bisque was out of this world!

and it continues....

the moral of this oh so entertaining conversation between the boy and yours truly is that in the midst of this absolutely mad city there is a place like no other, where four days a week we can shop for produce lovingly plucked from the land as recently as that morning. (okay so probably they pick it the day before)

and so in honor of this incredible buzzing metropolis with little treasures lurking around every corner, i post for you my passion (and hubby's!), some photos from our cooking expeditions courtesy of the union square farmers market.

does it get any better than this?

(top: Parmesan-crusted Atlantic sea scallops with roasted summer squash)
(bottom: Rock shrimp and corn bisque with sofrito and purple basil)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

training wheels.

i'm entirely new to this whole thing so please forgive the trepidation with which i approach publishing my thoughts for the world to see.

i called this training wheels because i never was very good at starting new things. you see, when my dad took the training wheels off my first bike i proceeded to throw it on the ground and yell at it as if this inanimate object was somehow responsible for my lack of balance. (i've never been very graceful, or reasonable for that matter!) but like all things, i learned to love my first bike and am hoping that this adventure in public sharing is equally positive.

interesting that at a tender age of (EEK) 30 i am finally allowing myself to enter blog-dom, but hey, when your family lives all over the globe i guess there really is no better way of keeping in touch, relaying news, and sharing pictures of our sometimes funny, often entertaining and always exciting life in the city.

seeing as that nothing terribly interesting is going on in my world at the moment, except that there is much work to be done while i finagle with this new toy, i will leave this as the inaugural post and await a moment of inspiration.

until then...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Anniversary Cake

Anniversary cake with two layers of dense chocolate cake and a thick layer of ganache in between smothered in purple colored vanilla frosting.

I guess I'm cheating by posting retro-actively but this one was just to pretty to keep to myself!

The recipe was adapted from epicurious.