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salmon and salad with salvatore ricotta

salmon and salad with salvatore ricotta

May 15, 2008 |  Category:   savory

I’m a huge fan of really fresh ricotta cheese. One of my favorite desserts to make back in my restaurant days was a small portion of ricotta from Dancing Ewe Farm surrounded by a pool of fresh cherries in syrup. The cheese needed absolutely nothing added to it – it was sweet, milky perfection, the epitome of fresh. So I was naturally quite intrigued when I heard that Salvatore Ricotta was going to be sold at the Brooklyn Flea. I actually had a minute last Sunday to make it to their table and bought a container. My Mother bought one of their fresh cannoli, but I can’t report on that – it lasted all of about 2 seconds. When I… CONTINUE READING

roast beef

roast beef

May 12, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I was a vegetarian for eight full years. I started eating meat many years ago after a trip to Paris where I somehow found it hard to find a good meal – I guess I just didn’t know where to look. Anyway, after the trip I decided to begin making exceptions to my diet when the circumstances warranted it, and now here I am, years later, cooking meat-based dinners for my family almost every day. Today’s dinner, however, is something relatively new for me – a roasted beef. As a former vegetarian I am sometimes intimidated by the various cuts of beef, scared that I will pick the wrong one and end… CONTINUE READING

springtime fish soup

springtime fish soup

April 22, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

The whole family has been feeling a bit under the weather on and off for the past week or two. Hopefully it will all clear up soon, but I still needed something to help chase these colds away. I remembered my sister telling me about a soup she made last weekend and it inspired me to make a soup of my own, a nice light fish soup of some kind with tiny pasta shapes to make it more filling. I went to the fish store earlier in the day to see what looked good and I left with a whole snapper, mussels and squid. By the time I finished the rest of my shopping, it was already 5:00 – time… CONTINUE READING

spaghetti with preserved meyer lemon

spaghetti with preserved meyer lemon

April 13, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

I did a big shopping trip today in anticipation of next week’s Brooklyn Flea. The refrigerator is now packed with eggs (9 dozen), oranges (36), and butter (20 pounds), not to mention the usual things needed to feed a family of four. While rearranging things in the fridge to make space, the mostly empty jar of preserved Meyer lemons that I had made caught my eye. Since last December it has occupied a spot on the top right shelf, usually hiding behind another jar so I always forget that it’s there. Tonight was pasta night and I was planning to make a dish with leftover green olives from last Friday’s lamb stew, so I chopped up the last of the… CONTINUE READING

lamb stew with green olives

lamb stew with green olives

April 11, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

We made a last-minute decision to visit Jenna’s parents for dinner tonight. Usually the house is stocked with all sorts of food in anticipation of our arrival, but not this time with such short notice. Jenna’s Mom normally goes to such great lengths to put together a wonderful meal every time we visit and I usually don’t have to cook at all, but tonight we gave her a break. While at the grocery store I spotted some lamb that I thought would make a nice stew. While picking out vegetables I was tempted by the olive bar and decided to throw in some chopped green olives for good measure. I only had about an hour to cook and was unsure… CONTINUE READING

back to dinners..tonight, shrimp

back to dinners..tonight, shrimp

April 8, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

I was so completely focused on baking for the last few days that I hadn’t really cooked much of anything else. I made a big shopping trip today without planning any meals beforehand which is unusual for me, but while shopping, I happened to see shrimp in the seafood display, followed by bacon not too far away. For some reason I felt compelled to cook them together. I’m not sure what kind of dish I ended up with – it was a little Thai, a bit Brazilian, but probably none of either. It was, however, quite delicious, with a nice mix of coconut, lime, and cilantro. And bacon, of course, really does go with just about everything. Shrimp with Bacon… CONTINUE READING

roasted pork belly

roasted pork belly

April 3, 2008 |  Category:   cooking recipes savory

Here’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. Pork belly can sometimes be hard to find and it seems too expensive when I actually do find it. During a recent trip to Chinatown, however, I spotted a bunch in the butcher’s case and at $2.99 per pound, it was actually one of the more expensive items. It’s true, most everything is cheaper in Chinatown and I always say I should shop there more often only to return many months later. The thing about pork belly is the crispy skin and I went to great lengths to achieve it – scoring and salting the skin, drying and seasoning again before actually cooking. The pork itself was not unlike… CONTINUE READING

our favorite steamed salmon

our favorite steamed salmon

April 2, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Whenever I’m looking for a change from the usual roasted, seared, or fried fish, I turn to this. It has many good qualities – delicious, fast, and healthy, plus easy cleanup due to the lack of splattering grease. It only requires a richly flavored steaming liquid and a nice piece of fish. The liquid can be flavored with just about any herbs or spices, and the fish can be of almost any variety. We prefer salmon because it stays buttery and moist even when fully cooked. Just make sure that you have a steamer that is big enough and you generously oil the bottom so the fish doesn’t stick. Steamed Salmon 1 pound salmon filets 1 Tablespoon kecap manis (sweet… CONTINUE READING

mexican food night

mexican food night

April 1, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Here is one of my all time favorite fun dinners to make. It’s inspired by the food that I ate back in my days of restaurant work. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant should be familiar with staff meal, or family meal as some call it. This usually involves chicken, rice, pasta, and not much else, aside from endless complaints from the waitstaff (“chicken again?!?”). Behind the scenes, however, the cooks sometimes treated themselves to their own private meal. Most often it would consist of seared trimmings of filet mignon rolled into toasted tortillas with fresh guacamole, beans, plantains, rice, and a plethora of other delicious toppings and spicy sauces. One day I realized that I should be… CONTINUE READING

tamarind barbecue ribs

tamarind barbecue ribs

March 28, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

On this week’s trip to the grocery store I noticed something I hadn’t seen before – pork riblets. They were on sale so I bought them out of curiosity. It turns out that they are the meaty end cuts of regular pork ribs, some quite small, but others rather large. I decided to make barbecued ribs so I made an easy marinade using some tamarind paste as the main flavor and let them marinate overnight. The next day they got a slow roast in the oven, followed by a quick sear in my grill pan, brushing with extra marinade until they got nice and crisp. I was amazed at how tender they were, and despite how much the riblets shrank… CONTINUE READING

pizza night

pizza night

March 19, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

One of my favorite rainy day activities for the family is homemade pizza day. The kids love everything about it: watching the dough rise, sprinkling on the toppings, and watching it bubble in the oven. The dough takes mere minutes to mix and only about 2 hours for both risings. I already had some sauce in the freezer from M’s last birthday party where all the kids made their own pie, so the only thing left was to slice the toppings – pepperoni and mushrooms – and grate the cheese. I like to use the pizza dough recipe from The New Basics Cookbook for two reasons: it’s fast and easy and it’s sturdy enough for little kids to pick up… CONTINUE READING

Japanese beef stew

Japanese beef stew

March 16, 2008 |  Category:   recipes savory

Why is it that we are halfway through the month of March and I’m still craving hearty meat stews? Maybe it’s the 40 degree temperatures outside and the fact that we never really got a winter at all here in Brooklyn this year – just a few really cold days, one measurable snowfall, and a smattering of spring-like days that only make us want spring to arrive. If I’m craving stew, then I need to make my favorite Japanese beef one-pot meal. Made with Dashi and Sake instead of meat stock and wine, it is light and sweet but still satisfies my winter stew craving. 8 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 1 hour 2 inches of fresh… CONTINUE READING

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