Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are you a food voyeur?

I most definitely am.  I spend an embarrassing amount of time on foodgawker, so imagine my delight when I discovered What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) over at peas and crayons.  The concept is very simple; write a post photographing what you ate on any given day.  Then every Wednesday there is a "party" post on peas and crayons linking to everyone else's WIAW.

This appeals to me for a number of reasons:
1.  Food porn,
2.  Links to a bunch of really interesting blogs, and
3.  The chance to be a food exhibitionist.

Anyway, without further ado I present my very first WIAW.

Frittata with potato, bacon, orange cherry tomatoes, and banana pepper.  Coffee and water.

Half a Mutsu apple.  Also known as 'King' apple.

Sausage and Lentils with a Garlic Red Wine Sauce (A.K.A last night's dinner.  Recipe avaialble here)


Smoothie: Almond milk, greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, banana, honey, and spinach.


Red Wine Spaghetti (Recipe available here.)

After Dinner Refreshment:

At $2.50 for 4x16 ounces, how could I refuse.  (Not my photo.)

So that was my (last) Wednesday: a boozy hump day celebration.  What did you eat?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Red Red Wine....

Make me forget!!!  No, but seriously.

Make me some fucking amazing food.

As a lover of all things alcoholic (I'm looking at you St. Ides), cooking with booze really appeals to me.  So this past week I made not one but TWO dishes featuring my favorite colored vino, red wine.

Both dishes were delicious, however there was a clear front runner.

Sausage and Lentils with a Garlicky Wine Sauce.  SO GOOD!  I literally licked my plate.  (I know TMI, but seriously- it's plate licking good.)

The other was a beautiful Red Wine Spaghetti.  The spaghetti is cooked in a mixture of water and wine which imparts a beautiful burgundy hue to the pasta, as well as a very unique taste.  This dish was good and I probably will make it again, but only if I ever happen to have leftover wine.  Seriously though, this thing took a whole 750ml bottle which = no remnants to drink.

Anyway, I'll let you be the judge on the alcohol vs. delicious food dilemma.

P.S.  Scroll to the end for a festive surprise.

Not the most beautiful girl at the dance, but boy is she tasty.  (Hmmm.  I may need to rethink my metaphors.)

Lentils and Sausage  (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)
Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp bacon grease  (you can sub. olive oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, small diced
  • 8-10 ounces French lentils ( you can sub. green/brown)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock (aprox.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 Hot Italian sausages
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot heat up your bacon grease.  Add the diced onions and sprinkle with salt and cook until softened.  
  2. Next add the lentils, bay leaf, and enough chicken stock to cover the lentils.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer until tender and most or all of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove bay leaf.  Set aside and keep warm.
  3. In a large pan heat up 1 tbsp olive oil.  When hot add the crushed garlic and cook about a minute until fragrant.  Add the sausages and brown on all sides.
  4. Carefully add the water and wine.  Reduce heat and cover pan.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked through.
  5. Remove sausages from pan and place in pot with lentils.  Mash garlic cloves in the liquid and pour over the sausage and lentils.  Mix until sauce is incorporated; salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot with remaining wine.

Wine waster/Great taster

Red Wine Spaghetti  (Slightly adapted from here.)
Serves 4-6


  • 1 750ml bottle dry red wine (I used 2-buck-chuck shiraz)
  • 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot pour all but 1/4 cup of the wine.  Add about 2-3 cups of water to have a sufficient amount of boiling liquid.  Bring liquid to a boil and generously salt.  (Be careful this step can cause boil over).  
  2. Add the pasta and cook until just before al dente.  Strain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. In a deep pan heat up the olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the remaining wine and reserved cooking liquid; bring to a simmer.
  4. Place the pasta in the pan and slowly stir until liquid is absorbed.  Toss with the parmesan, sprinkle with black pepper, and serve.

As promised:

UB40 performing Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine."  Enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A week in review

No weekend cooking extravaganza to recap today; this weekend I barely stood in front of the stove.   Instead of holing up in my apartment as my hermit like tendencies usually spur me to do, I actually left my house (gasp!) and went upstate to visit friends and go apple picking.  So this post is merely a summary of the things I cooked this past week.  Well the ones I've managed to take pictures of at any rate.  

On the menu this week there was:

'Korean' Pulled Pork and

Spicy Daikon Salad

I've placed Korean in scare quotes because it's really more Korean inspired than authentico.  However, it was authentically delicious.  Although the meat by itself was a bit dry, the copious amounts of rich, savory, salty broth that was produced more than made up for this.

I want to go to there.

As you can see I served mine over rice.  It would be equally tasty (and twice as portable!) between two toasty buns.

To round off my porky feast I made a daikon salad to go with it.  Although the flavors of the two were pretty similar, I think it added a nice fresh crunch to what otherwise would have been a porkpocalypse.

It looked better in person.  You'll see.  


'Korean' Pulled Pork
  This recipe was inspired by a recipe for Korean beef tacos.

  • 1.5-2lbs pork 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium works best)
  • 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1.5 inch ginger grated
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar + 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Korean pepper powder 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tbsp gochujong (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/2 onion

  1. Place pork in slow cooker. Large slice the onions and place in slow cooker.
  2.  In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until combined; pour over the pork. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  3.  Remove bones (if you used a cut with bones), and add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp rice vinegar.

This recipe is super easy and super delicious.  Leaving you with plenty of time to make:

Spicy Daikon Salad

I adapted this recipe from here.  It is simple and delicious, and the tedious task of dicing daikon into miniature matchsticks is well worth your effort.  

My matchsticks are uneven because I have the knife skills of a four year old.

  • 1 lb. Korean daikon cut into 3-4 inch matchsticks 
  • 1 Tbsp salt 
  • 2-4 tsp sugar (to taste) 
  • 2 Tbsp Korean red chili powder 
  • 3 green onions, in 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 large clove garlic minced 
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil 
  • 1 ½ Tbs. rice vinegar 
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang

  1. Toss julienned daikon with 1 Tbs. salt and let sit 5 minutes to draw out the water. Rinse off salt and drain well, squeezing out excess liquid.
  2. Place daikon in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the remaining ingredients over. Toss well, rubbing the seasonings onto each piece.
  3.  Check seasoning and add more salt and chili powder or gochujang to taste. Can keep up to one week, refrigerated.

The hardest (and most annoying) part of this dish is chopping up the raddish. After that it's a cake walk.  Anyway steam up some rice and in three easy steps (x2) you can have a delicious Korean-ish meal.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Cooking Bonanza!

Now that I'm employed (yeah!)  at a shitty temp job (boo!) I find that I am less inclined to cook during the week.  While I still manage to make meals Monday through Friday, extracurricular baking and such has been relegated to the weekend.

And this weekend I was quite the A+ student.

I made Pumpkin Banana Bread, Roast Chicken with Fennel and Red Potatoes, and Roasted Cauliflower and zucchini Cheddar Soup.  All three were AMAzING, but I have to say the soup was probably my favorite.  It's one I made last fall, and it was as good as I remembered!  Anyway that's enough of my idle ramblings, here are the recipes and some tantalizing food porn.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Makes 2 9x5x3 loaves

  •   1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 13/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mashed banana
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour two 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs until lightly beaten and add sugar and mix until blended.
4. Add pumpkin puree, water, and vanilla extract and mix together with the egg/sugar mixture.
5. Add banana and melted butter.
6. Add the dry ingredients (in #2) and stir until the ingredients are combined - do not over mix.
8. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean and dry.
9. When you remove the loaf pan from the oven, let the pumpkin bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
I culled this recipe from several Pumpkin bread recipes.  I knew I wanted to make a Pumpkin-Banana bread, so I just substituted Banana for oil.  This loaf is delicately sweet and incredibly moist.  I usually pop a slice in the toaster oven for a few minutes and then give it a healthy smear of cream cheese.  Next time I make it I think I'll add some walnuts or mini chocolate chips.  

    Roast Chicken with Fennel and Red Potatoes

  • 1 (3 to 4 lbs) roasting chicken
  • 2 fennel bulbs, top removed and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 4 medium or 2 large red potatoes cut into 1in chunks
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Remove giblets and excessive fat from chicken. Rinse chicken including the inside. Pat dry the outside. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside and outside of the chicken.   
  3. Place the bird in a medium sized baking dish.  Stuff the lemon in the cavity.
  4. Place sliced fennel bulb, potatoes, and garlic in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Arrange the vegetables around the bird in the pan. 
  6. Roast for approximately 1½ hours or until the juices run clear from an incision at the juncture of the leg to the body. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten's roast chicken from her Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  The chicken came out moist and flavorful.  It's really amazing what a little salt and pepper can do.  

Roasted Cauliflower and Zucchini Cheddar Soup


  •   1 head of Cauliflower (chopped up into medium sized pieces)
  • 1 medium sized zucchini (cut into medallions)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 28 ounces of  low sodium chicken Broth
  • 1 shallot medium diced
  •   1/2 a small onion medium diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic small diced
  •   3 strips of bacon
  • 2 cups of white cheddar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a cookie sheet, place the chopped up cauliflower and zucchini, drizzle with olive oil and top with the sea salt and course ground pepper. Place into the over for 30-40 minutes or until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a paring knife.
  2. Fry the strips of bacon until crisp, reserving about a tbsp of the grease.
  3. In a large dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot reheat the reserved bacon grease.  Add the shallot and onion and saute until lightly browned and fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  To this add the chicken broth and crumbled bacon strips.  Bring to a boil.  Once the cauliflower and zucchini are done add them to the broth; cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Next turn off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Once cooled blend using an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.  
  4. Return the soup to a low heat and gradually stir in the cheddar cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is so good!  The cauliflower takes on a slightly nutty taste from the roasting, and the cheddar cheese ( I used extra sharp) makes it incredibly creamy and savory.  Although the zucchini doesn't play a pivotal role in the flavor profile of the soup, it adds lovely viridescent specks  to what would otherwise be a rather bland looking pottage.  Seriously though, you need to make this soup.  Like right now.  For reals.

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