May 29, 2013

Fish Stew

If you're hosting a dinner party, this soup will impress. Ciopinno comes from an Italian dialect and means to chop. Fishermen would chop the day's catch to make this flavorful soup. I take this to mean I can add any kind of fish and shellfish I please. I was inspired by this recipe which calls for many types of shellfish. That can add up to an expensive dinner. I'll try it that way when I'm actually having company, but for the two of us, this version is simpler and more budget-friendly.

Ingredients & Tools
  • 1 lbs. fish cubes or fish of your choice
  • 2 lbs. mussels
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can of chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • Kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • large pot with tight-fitting lid

Do all your chopping. Chop the onion, garlic, and the fish cubes into smaller pieces, if necessary. I'm less likely to burn anything if I prepped all the chopping at the beginning of my cooking.

Add the dried herbs to several tablespoons of olive oil over low heat.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent. Clean the mussels thoroughly and check they're all alive and closed.

Add a cup of good, dry white wine. Let the alcohol cook out for a few minutes. This smells amazing.

Add the chicken stock. What would someone on the Food Network say? "Layers and layers of flavor!"

Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add and stir gently.

Add the cleaned mussels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer gently until the fish is cooked through and all the mussels open, about 10 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Serve this with crusty bread and the rest of that wine. Buon appetito! 

May 28, 2013

E-mailing to Evernote for Menu Planning and Kitchen Organization

Evernote is great for organizing recipes and menu planning. Another way to use the ubiquitous tech tool is straight from your e-mail account.

Every Evernote account comes along with a unique Evernote e-mail address. 

Go into your Evernote desktop client. Select the help menu and then Go to My Account Page.

This will open an internet browser window. Look at the Email Notes to section and you'll see your unique Evenote e-mail address. It will be some iteration of your username

Now when you get something interesting in your e-mail inbox, you're just a few clicks from sending it to your Evernote account.

My cousin sent me an e-mail for Arroz con Pollo, Puerto Rican chicken and rice. I wanted to save this recipe and I knew I wanted to blog about it.

Save the unique Evernote e-mail address in your contacts so you don't need to memorize it. I saved it as Evernote Account. When I start typing Evernote, the address autofills from my contacts.

You'll want to edit the subject line to make sure that the contents of the e-mail [which will become the body of the note] end up exactly where you want them to.

The title of this note will be Arroz con Pollo. Use that @ symbol to dictate what notebook the e-mail will end up in. This note is going to the cooking notebook. The # symbol stands for tags when you're e-mailing into your Evernote account, so this note will be tagged chicken, rice, and dinner.

Happy organization!

May 27, 2013

Favorite Food Blogs

There are so many great blogs that make me want to learn more about cooking, tech, and lots of other random things. These are some of my favorite food-specific blogs. There's so much inspiration on the web. Check out these gems.

A Year of Slow Cooking: I've mentioned this blog a lot before. It started my obsession with my crock pot and inspired the baked oatmeal I make nearly every week. Stephanie O'Dea used her slow cooker everyday in 2008 and the blog lives on.

Simply So Good: This is a home cook living in Utah who takes beautiful pictures of her creations. Her blog inspired me to try no-knead bread.

Food Wishes: Chef John writes up all his recipes, but he also films a lot of them. Check out his YouTube channel if you're a visual learner like me.

The Kitchn: Pretty pictures got me again, but there's so much more to the Kitchn, including great explanations on how to use cooking tools and great housing-keeping and cleaning ideas.

Eater: If you live in New York City or are planning a trip, check out Eater. My husband introduced me to the site--it's less of a traditional blog and more of a full-fledged website.

Cooking Fail: Mashed Cauliflower Ain't No Mashed Potatoes

Don't make this. Read this post and revel in the fact that you probably knew to stay away from such a recipe. If you like cauliflower like I do, eat some. Roast it or make this delicious soup, but, by all means, do not make this recipe. You won't fool anyone.

There are too many faux this and faux that recipes on Pinterest and some of my favorite food blogs. Here's the lesson: if you really like something that is less than healthy, eat it once in a while, in moderation, and save faux stuff for your winter wardrobe.

Ingredients & Tools
  • a head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup of ricotta 
  • 4 to a million garlic cloves
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • immersion blender

Chop and cook the cauliflower in simmering water until it is fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the ricotta and garlic to the drained and cooked cauliflower. I really love garlic. Mr. Crying Cook does too, but, yowzers, raw garlic is too much for me. Not only did I use it raw like the recipe indicated, I. ADDED. MORE. Don't do that. Seriously.

Blend it all with an immersion blender until it's smooth and fools you into thinking it may be tasty.

Season it with salt and pepper. Grate fresh Parmesan.

See, it looks like it could be okay. My husband was very generous with his review. He's a good guy. Thankfully, the pork chop and the kale was good.

May 20, 2013

Shredded Chicken For Many Recipes

There are some really smart people on the interwebs. A pin on Pinterest suggested using a KitchenAid mixer to prepare shredded chicken. I took this one step further and used my crockpot to cook a bunch of chicken breast--making the whole process even easier. There are so many recipes that call for chicken, so why not make a lot of head of time?

Ingredients & Tools
  • boneless, skinless chicken
  • slow cooker
  • standing mixer

Cook the chicken on low in your slow cooker for 2-4 hours, depending on the amount of chicken. This should be "naked" chicken. Add the seasoning you need to the specific recipes once you're actually making it.

Allow the chicken to cool completely. Add it to the mixing bowl. There's no need for any kind of liquid.

Start at the lowest setting. The shredding took less than a minute and I only increased it to the third setting. This was so simple.

I used some of the chicken right away in my middle eastern salad. The rest is in the freezer for an easy weeknight dinner.

May 19, 2013

Potato Frittata

I visited a friend in Virginia and on the way back to NYC, I stopped at a Le Creuset store. Despite every instinct I had, I walked out of the store with only the one item I had intended to purchase: a 10 inch cast iron skillet from my wish list. There's a life lesson there about how you can make your own dreams come true, but this post is about eggs.

During the work week, I usually eat baked oatmeal for breakfast with Greek yogurt. With my new skillet, I knew a frittata was in my future. It was great immediately for Sunday breakfast and just as good the next day at my desk.

Ingredients & Tools
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 russett potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • a "handful" of kale
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • oven-safe skillet
  • saucepan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, dice, and cook the potatoes.

Chop and cook the bacon. Your loved ones will immediately show up in the kitchen. "Is that bacon?"

While the bacon is cooking, prepare the eggs. Crack 6 into a large bowl. Look, no shells!

Add the ricotta cheese, some salt and pepper, and stir. Set the egg mixture aside.

Once the bacon has cooked, drain off the fat and add one chopped onion and some handfuls of kale to the skillet. Cook until the onion is translucent.

You'll want to eat it at this stage. Be patient.

Add the potatoes.

Add the eggs. Cook on the stove for 2-3 minutes while stirring gently.

Cook the frittata at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

This is a hearty breakfast that made my Monday so much better.

May 14, 2013

Baba Ghanoush

Reading nutritional and ingredient labels can lead to heartbreak. I really like baba ghanoush, the roasted eggplant dip, and was disappointed and disgusted to find out that the brand I buy is made with mayo. Mayo is wrong. Everything about it. I had been duped.

A visit to one of my favorite food sites, theKitchn, had an easy recipe. I made it even easier. Do this. It's tasty, healthy, vegan, and there is no mayonnaise.

Ingredients and Tools

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • roasting pan/cookie sheet
  • food processor

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut off the top of the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Do not peel. That would be crazy. Use a generous amount of olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. Roast for one hour and cool for another hour.

Once the eggplant is cooled and can be handled safely, it's time to blend. Add the tahini. Tahini is just ground sesame seeds. Add the peeled garlic cloves. I really like garlic and will use two more cloves next time. I added a bit more salt and pepper at this stage. Juice a lemon in a separate bowl to avoid getting seeds in the food processor and then cursing and then digging them out with a spoon and then being annoyed. Not that I did that.

Scrap the "meat" of the eggplant into the food processor, but none of the skin. Process until smooth, about a minute.

You will get a smooth and fresh baba ghanoush that will make you want a big bag of pita chips. I ate this with my fake Middle Eastern chicken salad.

This picture is terribly out of focus, but the baba ghanoush was delicious!