I’m pretty sure that in 2 years this is only the second time I’ve posted a non-dessert food on here. It’s not that I don’t cook, it’s just that I’m not an especially good cook and the the food I make is boring. This gnocchi dinner on the other hand seemed worthy of sharing. I’d been wanting to try making gnocchi for awhile, but assumed it would be too difficult. This weekend I had some extra potatoes around and figured why not? If they didn’t turn out we’d eat frozen pizza. I was so surprised how easily these came together. Don’t be intimidated by the recipe, it’s long, but none of the steps are difficult.
[After all of Jessie's vegan food options I'm doing a 180 with some delicious burgers! Sorry vegans!]
I went on a date recently with a guy who told me upfront, he doesn’t eat burgers. Actually no ground meat in any form, patties, balls or loaves. Now to each his own, but I love me a good burger. Shake Shack, Burger Joint, and Astoria’s own Bareburger… hand me a juicy patty of meat between two buns with avocado and bbq sauce and mmmm. …I can’t get enough.
Though I live in the Greek food capital of the world, Astoria, I never ate lamb until my visit to Morocco back in early 2010. Lamb is HUGE there. I ate a lot of delicious lamb tagine; slow cooked lamb in apricot and prunes, and alot of dried fruits. I figured I was in Africa, I should eat like the people. But back in the states I still had yet to really cook a lamb dish I enjoyed. I didn’t really have inspiration. On a visit to Meatball Shop last fall, it finally clicked. The ‘daily ball’ that evening was lamb meatballs with feta and spinach. Though I didn’t order it that night the combination stuck in my head.
I decided to go for it, if meatballs worked then why not lamb burgers. So upon inspection of many recipes, I discovered this fairly easy one from Bon Appétit. Success! I will definitely be bringing this to BBQ’s all this summer. I encourage you to try these out if you’re looking to mix up the usual sirlon burger routine. Delish.
A few days ago my boyfriend made an important declaration, “chicken salad is my favorite food, I love chicken salad sandwiches with lettuce tomato and onion, and if I’m feeling naughty.. a slice of provelone.” I’ve never made chicken salad, not being a big fan of mayo I myself am not a huge chicken salad fan. The one caveat to that statement would be curried or curry chicken salad. I had a taste of curry chicken salad over the summer while planning my father’s surprise party and found it delicious. Chicken salad has been a staple lunch go-to for my mother as long as I can remember, but always the same plain jane chicken salad. I wanted to bring some color to this otherwise mundane luncheon food and this past week’s snow storm finally gave me the opportunity.
I was staying in Stamford, CT and woke up Monday morning to this (see pic below) around 20 inches of snow. Metro-North had canceled train service. I decided to walk to the gym and try to secure myself a three day pass to get some cardio in but alas, they were snowed in as well. I went to my backup plan of spending the day cooking delicious food.
I’ve finally hopped on the Panko bandwagon. For those of you unfamiliar with the latest rage in breadcrumbs, allow me to enlighten you: Panko is a bigger, flakier, and lighter breadcrumb than the typical American fare, and over the last year, has moved into the grocery mainstream. The product hails from Japan and is recommended, primarily, for breading fish, which is how I used them. Being the cheapies we are, my boyfriend and I bought the Panko at Ocean State Job Lot, a New England-based discount chain. This just proves their widespread availability.
I have not had fish sticks since I was a little kid. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, fish sticks were the only ‘fish’ my parents could convince me to eat. In recent years, I’ve had a slight change of heart, and after catching EIGHT!! sea bass in Cape Cod a few weekends ago, I knew fish sticks would be the perfect end to a perfect day. I’ve never made my own fish sticks, but I had a plan in mind: cut the bass into sticks, then season, bread, and fry them. The best part about fish sticks is that you can really throw in any spices you want.
I have been doing some recipe testing for a cookbook over the past few months. After a recent macaroni and cheese cooking extravaganza with my friend Sara, I was left with some extra ingredients. One of those being 1 lb of Gruyère cheese, not the worst thing in the world. I somehow got it into my head that the best possible thing to do/cook, besides french onion soup, would be a quiche. Another reason quiche was on my mind, I had bought a brand Quiche Pan at TJMaxx almost a year ago and it has been taking up space in my cabinet. I decided to make this pretty easy for myself. I used my favorite Pillsbury roll out refrigerated crust. I know it’s cheating, but it takes two seconds and it tastes delicious. If you really really want to make a pie crust check out Jessie’s Lattice pie she made last week.
This recipe from Martha Stewart makes two quiche, so I planned on bringing one into work the next day and eating the smaller one at home. This would be perfect for a brunch at your apartment, or to bring on a picnic. I served it with a side of arugala salad. Of course I made the silly mistake of forgetting to chop up the spinach after wilting and pressing, but it turned out fine (see photos below). This would also be terrific with some crispy bacon or pancetta thrown in. The shallots I used for this recipe made me cry like non other. I seriously had to stop and leave the room for about fifteen minutes before I could continue. Does anybody have a solution to vegetables that make you cry? I’ve even tried wearing swim goggles. Simple, delicious, easy and impressive, readers I present to you… the Quiche!
Summer is for grilling. Better when it’s not 90 degrees outside, but man and fire have a certain relationship that even gross dripping humidity can’t stop. A certain special guy invited me over to his parents home while he was house-sitting last night. Big perk besides an entire house to yourselves, a gas BBQ! I guess I was craving grilled veggies at the time because when he asked me what I wanted to make I immediately suggested grilled wraps, with goat cheese. There is something about those grill marks on a wrap that just make it so much more delicious and appealing. These were fairly easy, minimal clean up and could be made vegetarian by switching in sliced grilled eggplant for chicken.
His dad was even kind enough to leave chicken breasts for us to grill as well, which he marinated in a bbq sauce. Really good. I traded him some sweet italian sausage. We grilled the vegetables and cooked the chicken first, then assembled and returned our overstuffed wraps to the hot grill for the all important horizontal branding marks. Having a BBQ for something like this is amazing but i think you could execute a similarly successful meal on a grill pan, which my lovely brother got me for Hanukah this year. The roasted red peppers we de-seeded and sliced in half, then ‘flayed or splayed’, what’s the word? directly on the grill. The onions we placed on a piece of foil on the grill and drizzled with olive oil. This seemed to work but if you have the tools a bbq pan would be perfect for this. The one linked here also works for BBQ pizza. My other favorite grilled treat.
We had some trouble getting our wraps to stay closed. We’ve actually both had previous experience in food service but while i got mine off beautifully in one piece.. i kind of butchered his. But he still ate it anyway.
Sorry I’ve been on hiatus a while, glad Jessie has been keeping you all updated with her exploits. With the weekly heatwaves many of us have been heading towards the water for some much needed R&R. I spent yesterday on a catamaran out to Sheffield Island in Norwalk, CT. It was gorgeous and so relaxing. With the seaside, comes fish, fried fish, chowder, bisque, and my favorite, crab cakes. ( I ate 3 out of 5 for dinner last night) I came across this recipe for crab cakes while testing for an upcoming cookbook. This is with my personal revisions, and it’s delicious. Jessie and I made these for my father’s surprise party a few weeks ago and I have gotten nothing but enthusiasm.
The surprise party went really really well. Jessie and I made a delicious Arnold Palmer (I’m sure she’ll post that recipe later), pasta salad, pulled chicken tacos and lemon goat cheese crostinis. He was genuinely surprised, and even with the slight rain there were still smiles all around. The food got rave reviews from all. For future parties Jessie and I decided we will always make these crab cakes, everyone asked us for the recipe.. and finally here it is!
So I’m off to Seattle and Portland! I’ll be in the Northwest for 8 days, back in New York for one day, and then up in New England to spend a few days at the beach with my Nana, Auntie, and Mum. I’ll be back in August with lots new recipes inspired by my trip.
For now I’ll leave you with a recipe for zucchini fritters. As I’ve mentioned before, eating all of the vegetables that come in our CSA basket every week has been a challenge. A fun and rewarding challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. I’m not used to eating so healthy and some nights I’m not in the mood for another really vegetable-y dinner. This recipe is primarily zucchini, but the pan frying and addition of cheese makes feel like more of a treat than another stir-fry.
I did not Photoshop this photo at all. Costco sells some brilliant red peppers. They sell brilliant everything, but this post is just about peppers. I learned how to roast red peppers by watching a youtube video about a year ago. Youtube is quite useful when cooking. My friend Adam was prepping for a date the other night and I directed him to the frugel chef youtube video on chicken marsala. Other than her Paula Dean obsession with adding pounds of butter, the video was quite helpful. Ahh the internet, what in the world did we do without it. Making your own roasted red peppers at home is actually quite simple, but they make everything just a tad bit fancier.
Need to make an antipasta, add roasted red peppers. Perhaps you fancy a goat cheese and grilled chicken wrap? Roasted red peppers would go quite lovely with that. They are also terrific for a simple pasta salad, which is where these were heading.
This week I was blessed with having four days off. Tuesday was my third and since I’d already done most of my errands I had the entire day to devote to fun. In the morning I finished an overdue library book, watched Food Network Star, and caught up on the food blogs I follow. In the afternoon I decided to make a jelly roll cake filled with lime curd and blackberries. I made my grocery list and headed to the fruit stand. When I got outside though, I realized it was far too beautiful to spend the day inside.