More pi…e

October 30, 2008 by
Life of Pi, revisited

Life of Pi, revisited

From Bookninja‘s recent competition.



October 21, 2008 by

We had a couple of pounds of organic, pasture-raised beef and pork to use, a situation that seemed to cry out for meatballs. The recipe we used (from Ciro and Sal’s Cookbook) is pretty simple: meat, breadcrumbs soaked with milk, parsley, minced garlic, raisins (the secret weapon), egg, parmesan, salt, pepper. I served them over some Bionaturae linguine, but they would have been equally good on a bed of sauted greens or with garlic-heavy mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s hard to get away from the classic spaghetti/meatball combo, but I’m going to try next time around. Fortunately, we’ve got about 2 dozen in the freezer to experiment with.


October 20, 2008 by


Hard as a rock, covered in a strange waxy fuzz, smelling so strongly of roses infused with pears and apples, the quince is one of the last orchard fruits to ripen.  Uwajimaya, the huge asian grocery a few blocks from my flat, had several tossed in alongside the Bartletts and Boscs a few weeks ago, and I was reminded of the quince bush we found at the back of the property my dad bought after the divorce.  It was a short stunted shrub and bore a lone fruit, first green, then gradually turning yellow.  None of us thought to do anything with it.  I bought 3, determined to do something with them.

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Back to Baking

October 12, 2008 by

Once upon a time, I used to bake a lot. I had all sorts of pans and utensils and weird decorative implements. Doing elaborate cakes was my favorite thing. Then, when I moved into a rotting apartment with (literally) no counter space, baking fell by the wayside. It was all I could do to steam a pot of broccoli without incident. A triple-layer dark chocolate gateaux, garnished with ruby sugar-dusted strawberries? Yeah, right. I eventually left that disgusting building, but I never quite picked up where I’d left off. My desire to bake had ebbed, and more importantly, my confidence had gone with it. I had turned into a Person Who Doesn’t Bake. Making pastry dough or my grandmother’s bundt cake with a nut swirl or a simple pan of brownies seemed like daunting and somewhat mysterious tasks to me. I even managed to ruin the cornbread on one occasion. Last week, while reading through some cooking blogs, I decided that enough was enough. I bought a tube pan from The Brooklyn Kitchen, printed out a recipe I’d been eyeing from The Smitten Kitchen, and got to work. And it was fun. And the cake is good. And you know what? I still think that tube pans are a pain in the ass.

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

October 7, 2008 by

So here’s a quick soup I threw together the other day using the harvest of veggies from my p-patch. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
2 cups carrots cut in 1/4 slices (about 6 purple carrots from my garden)
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (1 tsp dry)
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on how salty your broth is)
1 cup quinoa
4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup water
1-2 cups tomatoes chopped (and juices)
1 bunch swiss chard chopped into bite sized pieces

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Toss in onions and saute for 5 minutes or so. Add garlic, carrots, salt and thyme and continue to saute until the onions are soft and golden, and carrots have softened slightly, about 3-5 minutes more. Add the quinoa and stir. Turn heat up to high and add the broth and water. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Toss in the chard stems, cover and continue to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chard greens and tomatoes with juices. Simmer uncovered for another few minutes until the greens and the quinoa are tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

This should make 4 generous meal portions or 6 or so side portions. If you have leftovers you may need to add a little more water when you reheat it because the quinoa will absorb most of the liquid when you store it in the refrigerator.


Where was I…?

October 5, 2008 by

Oh yeah, I’ve been gardening.

I highly recommend it if you have a yard or a P-patch or just an outdoor area with a few pots. There’s nothing like produce straight from the garden, it even beats produce from the farmer’s market.

I’ll be posting soon some of the recipes that I used to enjoy the bounty from the P-patch.


Quick pork and mushroom pasta sauce

September 27, 2008 by

I haven’t been working at home this week, and missed lunch on Thursday, so was starving by the time I got to the market at 5 to shop for dinner.  Most of the pasta sauces I make are the all-afternoon kind, long braises of meat, garlic, and tomatoes in wine.  But, inspired by a large package of marked down pre-sliced button mushrooms and one of organic basil, I grabbed a 1/2 pound package of thinly sliced side pork (and 5 kinds of ice cream – it really is a mistake to shop when you are hungry) and headed home.

I try to keep canned diced tomatoes in the pantry, as well as pasta in some form, garlic, and olive oil.  There wasn’t any red wine I was willing to open for cooking in the house (need to remedy this pronto), but I wanted to go for a hearty sauce with bright basil flavor, so a splash of wine could go missing.  In retrospect, I should have put the pasta water on to boil the minute I started cooking the sauce, so I wouldn’t be found at the stove later yelling “BOIL!” at the pot.

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My kinda pie chart

September 26, 2008 by

Pie chart

A Quick One

September 22, 2008 by

No photos, sadly, but it’s not a very impressive-looking dish. Last night I threw together an eggplant-chickpea stew, which turned out quite well and (most importantly) cost about $5 for what looks like a week’s worth of office lunches. I modified a recipe I found online, and in about 60 minutes the stew was finished and the washing-up was done. That’s a record for me, folks, since I’m known for my tortoise-like speed in the kitchen.

Here’s what I used:

1 large (about 1.25lbs) eggplant, cubed

1 large onion, chopped

garlic to taste, chopped

1tsp each cinnamon and cayenne pepper

2tsp garam masala

1 can (or equivalent) chickpeas

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1.5 cups veg. broth

Saute the onion, garlic, and spices together in some olive oil until the onion is softened/translucent. Add eggplant, chickpeas, tomatoes, and broth, and let the pot go for about 30 minutes (or to your desired level of done-ness). For a thicker stew, which I like, let it cook uncovered for the last 5-10 minutes (take care that the bottom doesn’t scorch). That’s it. Lovely with some couscous and feta cheese.

Getting to be that baking time of year…

September 19, 2008 by

It was overcast today, and cool, after weeks of sunny days.  I have a new kitchen I’m trying to sort out, and making my favorite tried-n-true recipes is an excellent way of figuring out the oven.  A friend is coming over tomorrow so I can sharpen her knives, and it would be nice to have some treats in the house.  My giant cast iron pan really really needs reseasoning, and if I’m going to heat the oven up anyway….

So many reasons to bake brownies.  (Like I needed more than 1.)

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