Thursday, February 25, 2010

couldn't agree more

"I feel like this blog has suffered from a bit of mission creep lately. Know this: I am still really, really dedicated to eating and loving stuff. Case in point: I realized recently that you can improve almost any savory food by frying a shallot in butter and salt til it’s brown and crispy, draining the shallot on a paper towel, then sprinkling it on top (of whatever).

Here the shallot adorns a pile of rosemary mashed potatoes, some braised kale, and a poached egg. Don’t you wish your boy-or-girlfriend made lunch like me?"

text and photo via (thingsiatethatilove)

in other news of things that i love:

miniature cupcakes of all varieties from Baked by Melissa. particularly adore the quarter used for sizing reference. que linda! and thank you to taste-twin Meg for the tip-off.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy valentine's day, with potato chips

This morning, my housemate Dan made a crumbled Utz potato chip omelet. It was good.

You Will Need:

1 bag 25 cent Utz salt and vinegar potato chips
1 dash pepper
A pinch of Parmesan
1/2 avocado
2 eggs

To Make:

Put all ingredients in pan. Scramble. Add tapatillo.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

How To Make Your Own Damn Tortilla: a Letter From Zach Sachs

"Hi Cassie,

So I guess the massive snow day were were cueing you up for was just
rescheduled for tomorrow. The schools are clearing their slates
already and I suppose we're all trying to figure out how to get in
trouble before the thing starts dumping down on us. California must be

A flour tortilla is lard, flour, water and salt. So about three Tb of
fat, two cups of flour, a little shy of three-quarter cup of warm
water, two heavy pinches of kosher salt. Form a dough that is neither
slack and wet nor dry and crumbly. Knead briefly. Let rest one hour.
Divide the dough into balls — about 12–14 — they will fit familiarly,
a certain way cupped in the inside of your palm. Let them hang out for
ten minutes after they're formed and then, on a surface well-dusted
with flour, roll out the dolls with a pin (or, as I did for many
collegiate years, a wine bottle). Heat something flat over medium heat
and when it's gotten quite hot, cook em on each side until they're the
way you like it (Chris likes them covered with small brown dots like a
ripe banana, I prefer them at once doughy and charred, like a good
pizza). Keep them warm in a couple of towels.

If you roll them all out you can keep them in the fridge for a few
weeks, heating them up as you go along. My mom's favorite snack is a
warm, fresh tortilla with butter and honey. However. That particular
combination is just the sort of bright and easy midnight fix that I do
not possess the willpower to keep around. Fortunately, making other
people eat them all is usually not difficult. OK, your turn.

Bring back some sunshine for the rest of us,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

life lessons: another hasty update from home

"i haven't changed a bit!" i said, laughing. how grossly ironic. here's a recipe to go with the mouthful of my own words that i just ate.

Kale, Squash and Potato Galette (adapted from Gourmet)

You Will Need:

1 lb kale, tough stems and center ribs discarded
1 tablespoon stick (1/2 cup) butter, 6 of the tablespoons melted and cooled
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 lb russet (baking) potatoes (4 medium)
1/2 pound cubed butternut squash
1 tbsb chili powder
1/2 tbsb cumin
1 tbsb olive oil
A few dabs of butter

To Make:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cubed squash in a baking dish, rub with olive oil, chili powder and cumin. Let roast for 20 minutes or so. In the meantime, you can:

Cook kale in a 4 to 6 quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well, squeezing handfuls of kale to extract excess moisture, then coarsely chop.

Heat 2 tablespoons (unmelted) butter in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. Add kale, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and saute, stirring, until kale is tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and clean skillet.

Around now the squash should be done. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then puree until creamy. Place in a bowl and set aside for later. (If you're like me, you can dig into it early with a few crackers).

Peel potatoes and thinly slice crosswise (1/16 inch thick) with slicer. Working quickly to prevent potatoes from discoloring, generously brush bottom of skillet with some of melted butter and cover with one third of potato slices, overlapping slightly. Dab potatoes with some of melted butter.

Spread half of kale over potatoes and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Cover with half of remaining potato slices and dab with butter. Using a spatula, spread pureed butternut squash mixture over the layer of potatoes. You will have to use a very delicate touch as to not upset the spread. Then, top with remaining kale. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top with remaining potatoes and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Brush a sheet of foil with melted butter, then brush galette with any remaining butter and place foil, buttered side down, on top. Place a 10-inch heavy skillet on top of foil to weight galette.

Cook galette over moderate heat until underside is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove top skillet and foil. Wearing oven mitts, carefully slide galette onto a baking sheet and invert skillet over it. Holding them together, invert galette, browned side up, back into skillet. Cook, uncovered, over moderate heat until underside is golden brown and potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Slide onto a serving plate. EAT.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

growing up: a hasty update from home

when i was little, i was the designated grilled-cheese maker of our house. it was a purely honorary title, but i wore it with pride. now, at age 24, practically nothing has changed -- when i am cooking for others, i still rely on simple, cheese-based comfort foods that can be eaten with your hands. the cheese may have matured from orange cheddar into salty feta; the slabs of butter into here-and-there drizzles of olive oil, but the comfort part has stayed the same. honorary. universal. irreplaceable. etc.

Butternut Squash and Feta Quesadillas (adapted from Cooking Books)

2 cups cubed squash
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 leek, diced (only the white and pale green area)
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
Feta (to taste)
Tortillas (2-3, whole wheat or four)
2 tsbs olive oil

To Make:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the cubed squashed with 1 tbsb olive oil, cumin and chili powder in a glass baking dish. Roast for 15 minutes.

Toss the leek in remaining tbsb olive oil. Remove squash from the oven, scoot squash to one side, and add leek. Roast for another 10 minutes.

Remove leeks and squash from oven. Puree just the roasted squash cubes in a food processor, until they are smooth and creamy.

Spread the squash puree over one side of a tortilla. Sprinkle cilantro, roasted leeks and feta. Fold the tortilla in half, enclosing the squash/feta/herbs. Heat olive oil or butter in a skillet over med-high heat until you can feel the heat coming off the pan by hovering your palm over it.

Place the squash/feta stuffed tortilla in the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let roast for one minute or so -- check to make sure the first side has browned nicely. Flip and repeat on the next side.

Repeat until appetite satiated and adulthood reached.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

food for thought

a weekend wish list

* recipe dice from Leafcutter Designs.

* delicious, sustainably grown, and socially responsible coffee from Red Bird Coffee. (I've been drinking the Brazilian blend -- it's like silk. A necessary winter combatant if ever there was one.)

* reusable pantry bags from JulieMeyer on Etsy.

* anything and everything from the Little City Gardens Kickstarter project.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

brr, brr shiver shiver

This is the time of year in New York affectionately referred to as the "dead season." Nothing comes, nothing grows (Where My Rosemary Goes). I've been subsisting entirely on dried beans, various grains, apples and coffee (x3). These days, it is with a mixture of bemused indifference and curiosity that my co-workers regard me as I pull out my trusty tupperware at lunch. And it is with -- I hope -- a level of fondness that my housemate murmurs "Yep, that's a Cassie meal" when I toss a roasted sweet potato onto a plate.

But what am I supposed to do? The ground outside is cold and hard and dead. Cooking has been reduced to the most skeletal of parameters: maximum warmth-retention. That means a lot of soups, chilis, stews, crusty breads, cheeses...And while these kinds of comfort foods are no doubt superb, you can imagine how it's not just for the snow outside that one begins to forget that the color Green exists.

Ahh, but what of Kale? Lovely, dark, green and hardy; Kale perseveres through the winter alongside us. A nutritional superstar, a kissing cousin to wild cabbage, Kale is the cover-girl of every middle-aged Mom food magazine crammed into grocery check-out lines. That's right: KALE! With exclamation points!!! With MORE exclamation points !!!!!!! You can tell it's that part of winter where my grasp on sanity begins to slip, because never ever before have I been so excited about a vegetable.

This salad came together as an accompaniment to a chicken dinner I had with my friends Ben D. (glasses) and Ben S. (no glasses). It's easy, hearty and completely malleable to individual tastes. It's the perfect side, as it's mild enough to complement the main course, but bright enough to offer a nice boost to the other flavors on your plate.

Wilted Kale Salad with Parmesan

You Will Need:

2 bunches of Kale
lemon juice
olive oil

To Make:

Clean Kale. Separate leaves from stems. Discard stems. Roughly chop leaves and place in a large salad bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste, and begin firmly squishing and turning the kale. Continue to do this until the kale has become wilted -- darker in color -- and fully coated with olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and parmesan to taste. Chill briefly and serve.

Here is a quick index of some of my favorite kale recipes. What are yours?

101 Cookbooks -- Kale & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

I've never had good luck with the recipes from this blog, but it's pretty hard to screw up a good mashed potato!

Orangette -- Carrot & Kale Frittata

Gourmet -- Kale, Butternut Squash and Pancetta Pie

Smitten Kitchen -- Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips

Substitute kale, just as good. Or leave the chard! Still good.

Kale Chips

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - "Eggs In a Nest" at NPR

Sub kale for chard. Or use chard! Or use both! Crazy, I know...