Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Better Late Than Never, Pt. 2

An old clip from Levy's birthday last year at Disneyland:
Music: "Terrapin" by Bonobo.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today's Lunch: Steamed Broccoli and Red Corn

I visited Henry's Farmers Market the other day and picked out some fresh vegetables and fruit that, in total, only cost me $7. I can't recall the last time that I walked out of a market with three bags of groceries without feeling like I just handed my life savings over. 
I normally never buy broccoli because I never think to eat it, but there was something about the fresh broccoli crowns at Henry's that made me want to venture out of my bubble. The other thing that struck me eye was the red corn. I must confess that I am a sucker for corn with a gorgeous medley of burgundies and browns. 
I kept it simple and just steamed the broccoli by throwing bite-sized florets into an inch of boiling water and letting it steam for about 5-6 minutes, or just until a fork pierces it with ease. To dress, I sprinkled some of my favorite homemade dressing (soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and pepper) over it. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hipster Lingo

Now dig. Do the hip thing and learn to speak like a cool cat. 
"How to Speak Hip" by Del Close and John Brent, circa 1959.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Every year at St. John's Orthodox Church, they hold a huge Greek festival that features a charming lineup of locals and their wares. They sell everything from Greek-themed Matryoshka nesting dolls to traditional baklava. There is music, dancing, and -of course- food. 
I would be lying if I said that I went for the music or the dancing. 
Holy Baklava.
Souvlaki. For the soul. 
Garlic potato chips with feta cheese. 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lazy Sunday Soup

This chicken soup is simple and light- exactly how Sundays should be. 
Chicken Soup with Noodles on a Sunday
Serves: 6-8+, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cooking Time: 50 minutes
-1 boneless chicken breast
-3 cups of baby carrots
-3 cups of broccoli florets
-5 ribs of celery 
-8-10 fingerling potatoes
-garlic cloves
-2 tablespoons of dried basil flakes
-4 cups of egg noodles
-salt and pepper, to taste
1. Chop celery into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut fingerlings into halves, on the bias. Slice about 3 large pieces of ginger. Smash the garlic with the flat of the knife. 
2. Cut butterflied slices of chicken into bite-sized chunks. 
3. Throw all ingredients into a 4-quart soup pot and fill with water. Save about an inch of space in the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Salt and pepper as desired. 
4. Throw in the egg noodles and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I really do hate cooking dinner for myself.

I didn't intend on eating all of this together, but somehow I ended up with roasted chicken, potatoes, baby carrots, and roasted cauliflower- all on a bed of fluffy long-grain rice. I had no idea how it all came together. (Sorry about the horrible picture. Bad lighting makes the food look unappetizing.)
Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
Serves: 4, Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes
-2 butterflied chicken breasts with bones attached
-1 bulb of garlic
-1/2 lb. of baby carrots
-2 baking potatoes
-1 head of cauliflower
-1 sprig of fresh or dried Rosemary
-1 sprig of fresh or dried Thyme
-olive oil
-salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Take a few cloves of garlic and smash them under the flat of a knife. Discard the peels and roughly mince the garlic. Strip the rosemary and thyme sprigs and mince the leaves. In a small bowl, combine the herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Use this rub to cover the surface of the chicken, inside and outside (the butterflied cuts), and under the skin. 
2. Cut the baking potato into managable bites, and the cauliflower into florets. On another lined baking sheet, toss the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and a few whole cloves of garlic with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place on the top rack, and let it roast for 10-15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, pile up the vegetables and place the chicken on top. Cover it with foil and place it back in the oven to roast for another 30 minutes. 
4. After 30 minutes, uncover and put it under the broiler, skin up, until the skin browns and crisps. The vegetables should be well-flavored by the savory juices of the chicken.
5. Serve over a bed of your favorite rice and enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Winging it in the Kitchen

"Wing it." 
That's my general attitude about cooking (and other matters, but let me not get into that). 
That mantra is condemned in the baking world, and understandably so, considering the fickle disposition of baking soda and the infinite nature of The Oven. Remember those peanut butter cookies that ended up tasting like deodorant? What about those oatmeal cookies that ended up as scones? Point taken. With baking, you have to measure things out accurately and precisely to prevent your oven from giving birth to a hideous inedible snafu.
But when it comes to stovestop activities, sometimes it's just better to wing it and "eyeball" the ingredients. Give Intuition the reins, yes? 
Rotini e ceci might just be one of the best dishes to make without the constraints of specificity. When it comes to the elements of this dish, you simply cannot go wrong with adding however much your hungry heart pleases. 
-ground beef

-olive oil

-garbanzo beans

-tomato paste
-rotini pasta
-dried basil
-pine nuts
-salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside. Add olive oil to a pan, and wait until it heats. Pulverize garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife, and toss it into the heated oil/pan. Immediately add ground beef. As the beef browns, add some salt and pepper, the pesto, the dried basil, and tomato paste. When the beef is nearly all browned, add the pine nuts, and allow them to gently toast from the heat of the pan on low. After about a minute, add the garbanzo beans. To taste, add some ketchup* to the sauce. Finally, when sauce is fully-heated, add the cooked pasta and toss. 
*While most regard ketchup as an unsophistocated ingredient, ketchup is actually an ideal ingredient because it is a perfect flavor neutralizer. I find that a lot of pasta sauces lack body in taste. Adding meat to tomato sauce is a good way to help the sauce gain "body" (because of the fat content in meat), but the plain tomato taste is sometimes still too astringent and straightforwardly sharp. This is where sugar plays an integral role. Adding sugar into the sauce can help disable the overwhelming tartness. But the secret lies in exactly how much to add, and most of us lack the capacity to judge when is "not enough" and when is "too much." Enter: ketchup. Ketchup is a good mellowing agent because it has just the right amount of acidity and sugar content.