Friday, September 23, 2011

To process or not to process...

For my upcoming post, I'm planning on making pie dough; however, I haven idea what is the best way of going about this task. do I stick it in the food processor, grate the butter in, cut with a pastry blade...anyone know which is most efficient?

Friday, September 9, 2011

A quick hello!

We made it through the hurrican and admittedly, although we got power back about four days after the big storm, i was so busy with a suprise family visit and lossing my job that i haven't found the time to post. I do promise to put something yummy up this week since my grams just made a fresh batch of star fruit jam and i have a fresh stack of phyllo dough sitting in my freezer. I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the last few days of summer!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Simple Fajitas

Preparing for a hurricane is hard work: buying flashlights when their all sold out days in advanced, looking for batteries when their out of stock, and settling on candles which your pretty sure you won't be able to light because you won't be able to find a match.  All exciting and EXHAUSTING!  So what better to fuel up with than fajitas or tortiallas or erm latin inspired meal made from bell peppers, carmelized onions, sweet corn, refried black beans, cheese, and SOUR CREAM!  oh! and of course the fajita it self! 

Start off by chopping up some bell peppers (about one red bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper) and onions (about 1/2 an onion).  be sure to cut the bell peppers in strips and 3/4 the onion into strips as well.  The remainder 1/4 should be chopped up finely so that they can cook with the beans. 

Next take can of black beans, and throw it in the blender (i told you this was super simple).

Just blend them up until their nice and smushed!
 Then throw some olive oil in a smal pot (enough to coat it) and allow to heat up over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and allow to cook for a minute, add the beans and stir.  Allow to cook on low heat for about five minutes.  Be sure to stir!  Otherwise the beans will burn.  You can also add a fig or two chopped garlic, black pepper, salt, or any other herb conbination to fit your taste.  I'm keeping it basic since we didn't have a lot of time after "hurricane prepping."

Following the beans, heat some oil in a frying pan.  (enough oil to coat the pan and over med. heat).  When oil is hot put in onion strips to cook.  . 

After they cook, but are not brown, add in green and red bell peppers

Allow them to cook turning them up for about a minute or two.  Then add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and I add in McCormick salt free garlic and herb.  You can also add in chopped garlic instead of garlic powder and other available herbs, however due to the hurricane and panicked masses, I didn't get ample amount of time to shop for ingredients. 

After mixing in the spices, herbs, and anything else you'd like to throw in to help bring out the sweet bell pepper taste, cover and allow to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Typically, I love making a corn salsa mix which is super yummy and is the extra little pizazzaz that seemed to be missing today; however due to Irene, we didn't have the necessary ingriedents so i settled for the next best thing: a can of sweet corn heated up in a pot.  (well i guess it goes with the spirit of this post: simplicity and taste!)

To put this all togethor, you can use any sort of fajita you'd like; although i would caution aganist the frozen tortiallas/fajitas and stick with the packaged soft versions found in the bread section.  Heat up the fajita...

The last ingredient, which I was almost sure I would have to do withought, yet found some-to my suprise-in the fridge: cheddar cheese.  For some odd reason, this version was white!  Yes, white.  I'm accoustomed to yellow cheddar cheese, but at least it served its purpose!  Grate cheddar cheese!

To put toethor, drop a dollop of sour cream, if you'd like, spread on some beans, thrown on some peppers, add some corn, and grated cheese. 

And there ya have it! Simple Fajitas/tortilas...Hell you can even call it a burrito if you'd like!

Just fold and enjoy!

By the way...can you figure what treat we had after?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baked Ziti- YUM

Baked Ziti: Baked sauce, tubular pasta oozing with cheese, and fragrant herbs all baked into one amazing meal. 
For this delicious meal you'll need a few intreasting ingredients:

Basil! Mozarella cheese (non shreaded), 14 oz of diced tomatos

cottage cheese, 28 oz tomato sauce, cornstarch, heavy cream

garlic, oregano, pasta

 Start off by measuring 1lb of cottage cheese (trust me, it works well with this recipe!)

drop in parmesan cheese:

Add 2 eggs:

Then wisk! Don't be afraid of texture, it ends up tasting wonderful in the end. 

Cook pasta until al dente. (about 5 minutes) :

Chop up 5 fegs garlic:

Chop up 2 bunches of basil (about 1 1/2 cups)

Heat up oil and garlic:

When fragrant/cooked add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes

add oregano:

Lower to medium heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop up some mozarella cheese:

Once the sauce is done simmering, take the pan off the heat.  Stir in basil, black pepper and sauce.

In a small bowl mix heavy creme and cornstarch togethor:

heat heavy cream and cornstarch mixture in a pot until thickened (about 2 minutes).  Then remove pot from heat and add cottage cheese mixture:

Mix in a scoop of blue bunny almond fudge:

JUST KIDDING!  Save that for after your delicious baked ziti!

Add one cup tomato sauce,  mozarella cheese, and stir in pasta:

Place in a 9x13 pan, top off with mozarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. 

Cover in foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 2 minutes.  let cool and then serve!


I've found tons of recipies for baked ziti; however the one which appeared the most promising was Cook's Illustrated baked ziti recipe which called for cottage cheese, heavy creme, and cornstarch among other ingredients.  At first glance, i was suprised, however I have found that cook's illustrated not only provides reliable and wonderfully thought out recipies, but odd ingriedients at times make amazing meals! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


“I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet! I Feel the World Tumbling….”

There was a small little tremor in NYC today caused by an earthquake which yours truly, thankfully I should add, did not feel.  I was enjoying the benefits of a spontaneous day off and on my way to lunch with Simone-celebrating her golden birthday.  Like any New Yorker, I attributed any movement I felt to the crowd or subway.  After watching Hell’s Kitchen almost religiously, thanks to John who obsesses over reality food television after meeting me, I had a craving for French, Indian, and Greek cuisine.  So we settled French, an early dinner, and La Barrique in the heart of midtown. 

The food was delicious starting with bread and a balsamic olive oil mix followed by snails and a goat cheese green salad.  Now I was on the fence about trying snails, as I’m sure most of you would be; however Simone, who had taken French and is far more cultured than I am, went right along with my spontaneous snail moment “sure, I’ve had it before.  Let’s give it a try.”  And so we did.  I allowed my fork, somewhat shaking from my anticipation and ambiguity towards eating an insect, to break into the puff pastry that enclosed the escargot and took a bite.  I must say that it was not disgusting, and if I was a fan of mushrooms, I may have just loved the texture and taste because that is exactly what they reminded me of: mushrooms.  The color, which I failed to take a picture of while I was recovering from my anxiety of eating snails, the texture, and the taste were almost identical to mushrooms.  Luckily, Simone had chosen a green salad with goat cheese.  I must say, the French are quite innovative when it comes to cheese, and La Barrique- although in NY- was no exception to this.  The cheese was pan fried, warm, tangy, and waiting on top of the salad for an unsuspecting, such as myself, newbie to bite into its delectable flesh.  My taste buds, if nothing else, has a newfound appreciation for cheese!

Following my escargot moment, which Simone-despite it being her golden birthday- coaxed me through, we settled on almond crusted lamb and Chilean sea bass.  Both were yummy delicious options.  The lamb however was to die for, and Simone and I came to the realization that French were best known for their meat, potato au gratin (which I had for the very first time and found to be hearty, delicious, and worthy of a recreation at a later date in time), and sauces. 

Our scrumptious meal was finished with tiramisu, coffee, and a round of “happy birthday” sung off tune.    The coffee was wonderful and perhaps one the best cups I have had- most likely due to the alcohol content the barista threw in there to help us celebrate.  All in all, I’d consider French food conquered, and I wish you were there!  Next up: Chinese tea ceremony at tranquility tea room.  Any volunteers!? 

P.S. Happy Golden B-day Simone! I love you, hope you had an amazing birthday, and wish you many many more to come! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Quick Hello!

I can hardly contain my excitement to finally start what I hope will be a wonderful food blog!  I live to eat!  If you don’t believe me then please feel free to ask my round happy belly that acts as a shock absorber for all of my kitchen adventure (and restaurant adventures…living in NYC = great food experiences!) I truly am the happy chef . 
I hope that you find this blog to be a great resource for all your kitchen adventures, or simply a comforting place to browse after that rough day in the office where the coffee tasted worse than dirt and your supervisor made Satan seem like an angel of good.  If you have any suggestions, comments, or requests, please feel free to e-mail or leave a message. 
Welcome to the Happy chef food blog! J