Recipes

GingyCranberry

Hey everyone. ‘Tis the season to celebrate, so I have a quick recipe with which you can delight your guests at your next holiday gathering. I had a few of my nearest and dearest over to my place this past weekend to kick of Christmas festivities and I came up with a cocktail that we enjoyed all evening long. It has just three ingredients, and I figured out how to make a large batch, so it was perfect for a party and no one had to worry about mixing individual drinks.

I knew I wanted something suited to the season, so I came up with the GingyCranberry — it’s red and the notes of spice and ginger hit a wonderful Christmassy note. I loved this drink and I have a feeling it will be featured at my Christmas parties in the future – it may be flowing on the 25th as well!

The recipe is below. I mixed up a pitcher of this cocktail and poured it over ice to serve. I hope you enjoy this recipe at your next holiday gathering. And as the year draws to a close, dear reader, I wish you peace in the upcoming new year. May your days be merry and bright. Cheers!

GingyCranberry for a Party

Ingredients:

2 cups Cranberry Juice Cocktail
2 cups spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan’s, and then The Kraken Black Spiced rum when that ran out)
2 bottles (12 oz each) Ginger Beer (I used Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew)

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir gently.
Add ginger beer last if not serving soon, to keep the fizziness.
Serve over ice

Slacker

Hey guys.  I know I’ve been a humongous slacker.  Sorry about that.  There’s been a bit of turbulence in my life recently but I’m getting things back on track.  To make amends I have an easy and delicious recipe for you that I just whipped up.

But first let’s talk about this zoodle trend.  Do you know what zoodles are?  They are zucchini noodles of course.  The spiralized food trend is huge right now and you can buy different kinds of spiralizing tools.  I opted for an inexpensive and small version for my tiny kitchen.  I didn’t want to sink a lot of money into this trend before knowing if I would like it, so I bought the Microplane Spiral Slicer for about $15.  I’ve used my spiralizer just a couple of times.  It’s relatively easy, but I do get a little nervous that my fingers will get hurt when I near the end of the vegetable, so I end up using a knife to finish slicing.  Zoodles are good.  Foodles (I’m assuming that would be the term for finger noodles) would be bad.  And disgusting.  I just grossed myself out.  Sorry.  Anyway, the noodles that the Microplane tool forms are good, but not exactly shaped like swirly spaghetti, which I thought it would be.  Recently I had a chance to try a bigger spiralizer which was on demonstration at Sur La Table.  It was super easy, the noodles more closely resembled spaghetti noodles, and it was only $25!  I would recommend that version if you have the room for it, and as with any specialized kitchen equipment, if you think you’ll use it often.

IMG_0351green spiralized slicer

Now on to the recipe.  I saw this recipe on a morning show that had chef Ryan Scott as a guest.  It is a recipe that works for both raw and vegan diets, and while I don’t adhere to either, I like to try all kinds of dishes.  Also, I had most of the ingredients on hand and was dying to use my spiralizer.  Here is the recipe for the sauce.  You can put it over zoodles, any other kind of spiralized veggies, or of course, regular pasta.

Raw Alfredo Pesto

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 lemon, juiced
zest from 1 lemon
1 cup spinach
2 cloves garlic
10 big basil leaves (more if preferred)
1/2 – 1 cup water (adjust as needed)
salt to taste

Directions:

Add the cashews, lemon juice, zest, spinach and garlic into a blender with 1/2 cup of water.  (Tip:  When making a sauce, put the water in the blender first so that everything emulsifies more easily.)  Puree until a paste forms and add water to achieve a pourable consistency.

Chiffonade the basil and stir into the mixture.  (Tip:  Did you know, the more you chop your basil takes away from the aromatics?  Don’t mince that basil to death!)  You can keep this sauce in the fridge for a day or two and only add the basil when you’re ready to eat.

Pour sauce over zoodles (or whatever you choose) and garnish with remaining basil leaves.

Confession.  I didn’t read the recipe correctly the first time and I blended the basil into the sauce.  I thought it was completely creamy and delicious the way it was, but I do believe that adding the basil last-minute would give it a more interesting texture and would look nicer if you were not scarfing it down yourself rather than sharing it with company.  Next time I might finish it with a quick swirl of good olive oil to give it some richness.  I will also admit that I found that a bowlful of zoodles and sauce left me somewhat unfulfilled after a short amount of time, so I would definitely make this as more of a cold salad by adding other veggies or even a protein.  Cherry tomatoes would be pretty.  Cubed up fresh mozzarella, maybe some diced chicken, or roasted shrimp would be tasty.  This recipe really is a good jumping-off point and you can make it as vegan or un as you wish.  Enjoy!

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Above are spiralized raw summer squash which I picked up at the farmer’s market.  Yum!

Mrs. Sicilian cauliflower

N and I were on the Upper West Side the other night.  We were there to see the touring SYTYCD show.  (So You Think You Can Dance – for those of you not “in the know.”)  I love this show.  LOVE IT, I said.  I’ve watched it since the first season when I saw it being promoted by the choreographer Wade Robson.  I was in a bit of a pop-culture-obsessive phase at the time, and had heard that Wade was – shhhh – perhaps the cause of the Britney/Justin break up.  Scandal!  He also stood in for a sick Joey Fatone in the Bye Bye Bye video.  True story.  Maybe that wasn’t the best reason to start watching, but the show stood on its own.  The auditions offer a combination of remarkable and dreadful contestants just like any reality competition show.  The judges over the years have also been a strange, but usually likeable assortment, and despite Mary Murphy’s ear piercing screams and Mia Michaels absurdly rude critiques, the tone of the show has managed to stay super positive.  This season was particularly good, and the winner, Ricky Ubeda, was the obvious favorite from the start.

Anyway, I digress, so let me wend my way back to dinner plans.  We stopped by The Smith near Lincoln Center.  It is a few doors down from Bar Boulud, another one of our usual Lincoln Center staples.  It was busy with the pre-show crowd, but thankfully also rather spacious, with additional seating in the back.  (Side note:  reservations are a must for a pre-theater table.)  N and I were ushered to our seats and began to peruse the menu.  It was an eclectic variety containing interesting bar snacks (fried oyster BLT sliders – we’ll get you next time!), starters, mains and sides.  N had heard good things about the burger (from Yelp and other online reviews), and since we were on a tight schedule that is what we ordered.  For me the burger did not live up to the hype.  N enjoyed hers more than I did, but we both noted that other menu items seemed much more enticing for a return visit.  The pot of mussels at the table next to us smelled delicious.  The vegetable bibimbap looked delicious, but the reason I am writing to you friends, is to tell you about the Sicilian Cauliflower side that I ordered.

There was no description of the dish on the menu other than the name, so I asked our waiter about it.  He informed me that it was a sort of oil and vinegar preparation with capers.  Now, I never met a caper I didn’t love and I’m also a vinegar fan, so that solidified my choice.  When our food arrived I picked at the cauliflower to taste… and I just. didn’t. stop.  I ate the entire side before I touched my burger.  I may have paused to mumble to N that it was so good I wanted to marry it.  All by itself it was a perfect marriage of warm charred cauliflower, tangy vinegar, salty caper, spicy red chile, and a touch of sweetness from some currants.  Boom!  Pow!  Fireworks in my mouth!  It was incredible.  N even admitted her food envy.

The next day, obsessing over the dish, I started checking Twitter and Instagram.  I thought that if I could pick out the ingredients in a photo, I could try to recreate it at home.  I scanned the entire feed of The Smith’s Instagram account and to my surprise couldn’t find a single picture of their cauliflower.  Cheekily, I tweeted to them expressing my shock at not finding a pic of their Sicilian Cauliflower.  To my delight, they replied, tweeting a picture and telling me to email them for the recipe.  Naturally I did, and had the most pleasant exchange with Amanda in their marketing department.  She sent me several more photos of the dish, along with the simple recipe.  How great right?

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And guess who benefits?  You do!  here are some pics of The Smith’s Sicilian Cauliflower along with the recipe.  Please enjoy… and please stop by any of their locations in NYC to sample the real deal for yourself!

The Smith’s Sicilian Cauliflower

Char your cauliflower as usual and then toss it with the vinaigrette below.  Garnish with parsley.  *Note:  we fry it after we char it.  Up to you!

Ingredients:

EVOO:  2.5 tablespoons
Red Wine Vinegar:  1/3 c
Dried Currants:  2.5 tablespoons
Capers:  2.5 tablespoons
Garlic:  4/5 teaspoons
Fresno Red Peppers:  1/2 teaspoons
Lemon Juice:  2/5 tablespoons

Directions:

1. Soak the currants in vinegar
2. Shave the fresnos very thinly
3. Chop capers
4. Grate the garlic
5. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and whisk
6. Whisk in olive oil

I’ve included the recipes the exact way it was given to me.  It’s more of a guideline for creating the vinaigrette.  I’m going to play with this recipe to get it down pat, and I’m going to enjoy the process.  Dear Sicilian Cauliflower, I thee wed.

securedownloadsecuredownload3                                    Photos courtesy of Amanda Winer for Corner Table Restaurants

The One ingredient non-recipe

Can there really be such thing as a one-ingredient recipe?  I am inclined to think not and so this is the first non-recipe that I’m posting.

In you’re a Pinterest addict like me, no doubt you’ve seen it… the recipe for one-ingredient ice cream.  A misnomer actually, because this recipe contains no cream.  You can search for it using hashtags like #kidfriendly, #paleo, #vegan, #nodairy etc.  I would categorize it as #HolyCowThat’sSoCool!  The moment I saw this recipe I was intrigued and knew I’d have to try it.  After all, it requires bananas and well, nothing.  As Gwen Stefani would say… c’mon, we all know what Gwen Stefani would say right?

The bananas I got from work.  There were two whole bunches sitting there on Friday evening, and they were slated to be tossed in the trash by the cleaning crew to make way for new green bananas on Monday.  I rescued the spotted darlings from their wasteful fate.

An important step in this recipe is peeling and chopping the bananas before freezing them.  Luckily I followed this tip, and so was spared the dilemma of trying to figure out how to peel a frozen banana.  The next step is to chop the bananas.  Coins, cubes… it doesn’t matter.  Just chop those bananas.  Then freeze those bananas.  If you’d like to place each banana coin gingerly on a piece of waxed paper to keep them separated, you may.  Feel free.  If you’d like to plop them all mixed up in a bowl and chuck it into the freezer, you’d be taking a page out of my book.  The last step is to toss the frozen bananas chunks into your food processor fitted with a steel blade and blitz away.  Process the bananas until they’re creamy… about the consistency of soft serve.

That is all there is to it.  I tried this recipe because I love bananas.  You could try it because it’s a super healthy treat that’ll easily replace full fat ice cream.  You could try it because you don’t believe that last sentence.  That said, being obviously low in calories you can load on the fixin’s.

Drizzle, hell, douse with chocolate syrup.  (Dark chocolate syrup works well.)  Add some crunch with granola.  Keep it low-cal with a dash of ground cinnamon or freshly grated orange zest.  Sprinkle on some coconut, ooh, or pretzel pieces.  If I were serving it to Elvis Presley I might toss in some bacon pieces… oh, oh, or candied bacon pieces!  Maybe when you’re blending the bananas you could throw in some frozen strawberries too.  Or Nutella, or peanut butter.  OMG, peanut butter cookies with banana ice cream sandwiched between ‘em!  Oh, I’m starting to get light-headed with all the possibilities you guys.

Here is a quick pic, but there are much better ones on the World Wide Web.  The best view of all though, will be when you make this for yourself in your very own kitchen.

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Banana Ice Cream
Ingredients:
Bananas

Directions:
1.  Peel those bananas
2.  Chop those bananas
3.  Freeze those bananas
4.  Blitz those bananas (in a food processor fitted with a steel blade)
5.  Eat those bananas!  yum

Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup

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Everyone likes chicken noodle soup right?  I do too, but this ain’t a post about ubiquitous chicken noodle soup.  This is a post about my favorite soup in the whole world… my mom’s Sweet Corn and Chicken soup.  Whenever I taste it, I am transported back to our tiny apartment kitchen, sitting at the white and blue kitchen table with the steam reaching my face as I contentedly sniff the soup in front of me.

I was shocked to discover many years later how ridiculously simple this Indo Chinese recipe was.   The soup itself is give or take 5 ingredients.  The thing that really puts it over the top though, are the condiments and they are super simple too. 

But hey, if you wanna get fancy and add more ingredients, feel free.  Do you think some sautéed onion would be good in there?  Add some onion.  Think carrots would be delicious?  Add some carrots.  Many recipes call for a lightly beaten egg to be added.  I usually can’t leave a recipe alone without adding my own twist… even if it is just to finish up left over something-or-other from the pantry.  Soup is good for that. 

The most tedious part of this recipe for me is cleaning and shredding the rotisserie chicken.  I don’t know of an elegant way to remove the chicken skin (because ewh… who wants chicken skin in their soup.  *shudder*) and then shred the meat.  I suppose you could always roast some chicken breast on a sheet pan, like the very proper Miss Ina Garten does for her Chicken Salad Sandwiches.  It might be a tad neater than my current process.  But I’ll leave that decision up to you.  Here is the easy peasy recipe.

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, about 2lbs, skinned and shredded
1 can of creamed corn
1 box (4 cups) of chicken stock
1 garlic clove mashed or finely diced
1 – 3 cups of water, optional
Salt & pepper to taste
Condiments:  soy sauce, white vinegar, finely diced green chile

1. Put the shredded chicken and stock in a large pot.  Simmer until chicken is warmed through.

2.  Add the can of creamed corn, and the garlic.  You can add extra water here if you find that the soup is too thick.

3.  Add 1/2 t salt and pepper to taste.  (It’s best to avoid over salting so that you can add soy sauce to each individual bowl.)

4.  Serve with condiments:  a teaspoon of soy sauce and a tablespoon of white vinegar.  Sprinkle on finely diced green chile.

Trust me when I say that the condiments really make this soup pop.  Don’t skip them!  If you make this simple recipe let me know what you think.

Xx,

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