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savory

fresh tomato sauce from the garden

fresh tomato sauce from the garden

August 14, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

We just received our annual shipment of tomatoes from Jenna’s Dad’s garden. Every year at around this time, his garden overflows with big, fresh, juicy tomatoes and we always end up bringing home a full bag. Rather than use them gradually and have them slowly go bad, I just use them right away to make a big batch of fresh tomato sauce. It freezes well if you can’t use it all at once, but we never seem to have that problem. Fresh Tomato Sauce (makes about 2 quarts) 12 big, ripe tomatoes 1/4 cup olive oil 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped 2 sprigs of fresh basil salt and pepper to taste First,… CONTINUE READING

shrimp ratatouille

shrimp ratatouille

July 28, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Here’s an example of a dish I made up from ingredients that were laying around. I bought some shrimp, yellow squash and sweet peppers and figured that I’d find something to do with it. When it was all finished I realized it was pretty much a ratatouille with the addition of shrimp (and no tomatoes). I marinated the shrimp, cooked the vegetables separately and mixed it all together and served it over couscous. I suppose if it was served over rice I could have called it a stir-fry. Shrimp Ratatouille (serves 4) 1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, cleaned 4 Tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 1 Tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper… CONTINUE READING

short ribs in july

short ribs in july

July 24, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

I’m a sucker for short ribs. Even in the middle of July, with our 100-degree heat index, I could not resist these thick, meaty ones from the store. I did a few things to lighten it up a bit. First, I did not add any onion or garlic to the pot, instead I added extra carrot and celery. Second, for the liquid I used only white wine and water, flavoring it with some lemon thyme and rosemary from our balcony garden, along with a bit of citrus zest and ginger. Lastly, I pureed the cooked vegetables into the cooking liquid after I removed the cooked ribs. It made it into a sort of thin vegetable puree, which is a little… CONTINUE READING

polenta stuffed zucchini flowers

polenta stuffed zucchini flowers

July 18, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

During a recent trip to the farmers market I noticed an unusually long line at one of the stands. It seemed like they were selling the same vegetables as everyone else, but then I spotted them – zucchini flowers. No other stand had them that day and they were nice and fresh. Five dollars for a good sized container. I hopped in line and bought some. So then I had to decide what to do with them. Zucchini flowers were made for stuffing, but the only question is with what. I love stuffing them with crab or lobster, but that’s obviously not your everyday dinner. Even plain cheese is nice, but I wanted something different. I decided on polenta. I… CONTINUE READING

crispy eggplant

crispy eggplant

July 10, 2008 |  Category:   cooking recipes savory

My fascination with Chinese crispy eggplant goes way back to when I lived in Portland, Oregon. I was with a large group of friends at a restaurant called Fu Jin. One person did all the ordering and one dish that arrived at the table was Crispy Eggplant. Sounds simple enough, but it turned out to be one of the most memorable dishes I’ve ever eaten. In a world where eggplant usually gets pureed and turned into things like Baba Ganoush and Baingan Bhartha, and then to be presented with this – crisp and saucy all at once – was truly a revelation. Sadly, twelve years later I have not been back to that restaurant, or even had the same dish… CONTINUE READING

crispy calamari

crispy calamari

June 28, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

For some reason I have had a fried calamari craving for a very long time. Every time I order it in a restaurant I end up disappointed because it’s usually too soggy, greasy, or both. So while shopping the other day I made a bit of an impulse purchase and bought a 3 pound box of frozen squid for just 5 dollars – how could I pass that up? The only drawback was that they were not cleaned. Usually that would be no problem, as I’ve cleaned many a squid in my life, but this time they were the absolute smallest squid I have ever seen. Seriously, some were no bigger than my thumb. I spent close to an hour… CONTINUE READING

basil pesto

basil pesto

June 23, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory seasonal

After our trip to Chelsea Market the other day I was left with a bounty of vegetables, but no plans for how to use them. I decided to make a Soupe au Pistou, especially because I bought a giant bunch of basil. Traditionally, Soupe au Pistou is just a light vegetable soup with pesto mixed in at the table and perfect with a nice loaf of crusty bread (which I happened to have as well). I toasted the bread in the oven with some olive oil, sea salt and freshly grated parmesan cheese. The soup turned out fine, but we were left with lots of bread and pesto when the soup was gone. What happened next, you ask? Pesto was… CONTINUE READING

bbq spice mix, part 2

bbq spice mix, part 2

June 13, 2008 |  Category:   cooking savory

My first attempt at a BBQ spice mix lacked sweetness, so I gave it another try. I switched the sweetener to regular sugar and took out any spicy elements to make it more kid friendly. Instead of pork ribs I used a simple London broil, which I rubbed well with the spices, searing it in a pan, and finishing it in the oven. The sweetness really came through this time and helped push all the other flavors forward. I think it might need one more refinement before I will be completely happy with it. I also plan to make a version that’s spicy with plenty of ground chipotle peppers, but I wanted to try out this basic mix so we… CONTINUE READING

crispy skate

crispy skate

June 5, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

I took the kids to the Union Square Greenmarket the other day to buy some tomato plants for our balcony, and I also picked up some skate for dinner from the fresh fish stand. Skate has always been one of my favorite fish to eat, but it is not always easy to find. Whenever I see some at the market I buy it because it is always fresh and usually only about $4.50 a pound. The only catch is that it is not cleaned, and skate is probably one of the toughest fish to fillet because it is so thin and fragile. Besides that, this is a simple and easy way to cook it. It has great crispness and should… CONTINUE READING

shopping in chinatown and Chinese-Style Braised Pork Belly

shopping in chinatown and Chinese-Style Braised Pork Belly

May 22, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

I’m sure many people can relate to my latest shopping trip to Chinatown. I went for just one item – lemongrass for the marshmallows I made for the FiFis – but ended up buying much more than I originally intended. Specifically, I bought fresh cherries, fried tofu, chinese broccoli, canned wheat gluten, a nice pork belly, a roast pork bun for me, and a sweet red bean bun for Claudine, who accompanied me on this trip. The pork belly ended up on the dinner table the next night. Unlike my last recipe, I wanted to braise this one. It is actually based on the Chinese cooking method called “red-cooking”, which is commonly used for pork belly. The roasted version I… CONTINUE READING

chicken curry

chicken curry

May 21, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Sometimes I’ll ask the kids what they want to eat for dinner before I make my weekly shopping trip. Yesterday M replies without hesitation, “Chicken Curry!” Sure, why not? My 4-year old actually asks for chicken curry, so I’ll make it. I picked up some chicken thighs and coconut milk and made a Thai curry with a coconut milk base. Thai cuisine is the first kind of food that I learned to cook, way back in college when Thai restaurants were just starting to open up, and it’s like comfort food for me so naturally I want my kids to like it as well. Until they take to spicy food, however, they won’t be able to try the real thing.… CONTINUE READING

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