22 2 / 2013
21 2 / 2013
21 2 / 2013
21 2 / 2013
It’s been a year since I’ve started this blog and it’s been about nine months since I wrote last. What a dry spell. It’s about time I got back into it, don’t you think?
The past nine months have been incredibly busy. I moved from MA to NY, Long Island specifically because I got into med school. In fact, I got into my first choice. I’m a very happy camper indeed! Unfortunately, transitioning into med school meant that fun extraneous things like blogs went to the wayside. However, I’ve recently realized that I’ve been doing a disservice to the 3 people who actually read this blog. I mean, I’m in New York for goodness sake, I live a 30 minute train ride from NYC. I eat out A LOT and I get to try amazing food (sometimes even cheap amazing food). Luckily, I’ve taken a few pictures here and there so I can throw them up here for your viewing pleasure. I’ve also developed a new passion (read: ADDICTION) for nail polish. I started collecting polishes late in the summer and since I started classes, my collection has grown exponentially. I even have dotting tools and stamps. So, you’ll probably see lovely photographs of my manicures. I have tiny nails so there’s really not much I can do but I certainly try.
Ok, so a little bit about my life right now. I love med school. It’s time consuming and stressful but I really like what I’m learning. More importantly, I adore the whole process of how we learn at my school. Everything is contextualized, everything is case based and it all makes logical sense. Also, I’ve made some incredible friends here and they’re all obsessed with food like I am! I will introduce the cast of characters as they become pertinent (well, they’re always pertinent). I even have some equally obsessed nail polish fanatic roomies! What joy!
So, overall, my life is a little more well adjusted than when I first started classes so I’m ready to word vomit.
30 6 / 2012
The rest of our trip in Plattsburgh involved more cooking and eating (and napping). Colleen had a huge bag of fresh picked garden rhubarb in the fridge. I admitted to her (and now to you) that I had never cooked with rhubarb before. So when it came time to think about dinner, we immediately thought about dessert. Colleen pulled out an old family recipe she’s been making for the past 20 years. I, on the other hand, used my Epicurious app on my iPhone to find a rhubarb recipe. I landed on rhubarb crisp (with buttermilk ice cream- but we didn’t have any ice cream). We hoped that we had enough rhubarb for both dishes.
First, I started on the rhubarb crisp. I chopped up five cups of rhubarb while Colleen was out at Stewart’s grabbing the last few ingredients. I mixed the rhubarb with some sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and orange zest.
Colleen had some pristine white ramekins into which we divided up our rhubarb mixture.
They went into a 375 degree oven until they softened up a bit. I loved taking pictures of the ramekins so bear with me!
While they were in the oven, I put together the streusel topping: chopped walnuts, brown sugar, butter, and flour.
I pulled out the rhubarb and it smelled so lovely and fragrant- I smelled the orange zest in there, too. I gave them a good sprinkling with the streusel topping and placed the ramekins back in the oven.
After the allotted time in the oven, the rhubarb crisps emerged bubbling and hot. We didn’t really let them cool very much before diving in. It was a mistake. Many of us suffered burnt tongues but we persisted. I noticed that this dessert tasted very orangey. I think next time, I will reduce the amount of orange zest. Also, I wanted a more substantial crust. I think it needs some oatmeal rather than flour to give it a little more body and crispiness.
Colleen’s recipe is a family favorite and is quite simple.
I started the same way as the other recipe- I chopped a bunch of rhubarb. We had just enough!
And then began the layering as the recipe called for…
Layer one was the rhubarb
Layer two: sugar
Layer three: strawberry jello powder (the recipe called for wild strawberry but we just had regular strawberry).
Layer four was yellow cake mix, layers five and six were water and then butter.
In the oven it went and out it came, looking like a crisp. The dessert was really lovely and rustic-seeming.
When we started eating, I noticed that I enjoyed the combination of textures- soft rhubarb with crisp crust. But we all agree that it was too sweet. Almost like a pop tart. I think if I were to make this again, I wouldn’t use the jello powder. Instead, I’d cut up some strawberries and cook them down with a bit of sugar and use that. I’d also eliminate the layer of sugar on top of the rhubarb. But I can totally see why Mike and his siblings would adore this recipe as kids.
So, my thoughts on rhubarb: it’s pretty interesting. First, I love the texture. It’s really watery like celery so I can see how it keeps whatever baked good it’s in quite moist. I also love how it tastes. It feels like I’m eating an under ripe pear- you know, that prickly, tart feeling on your tongue? I can even smell the tartness and it makes my mouth water. It’s a little hard for me to explain the taste. I’m pretty enamored.
Normally, dessert is eaten at the end of a meal. However, when we started to get into dinner (meatloaf, rice, brussels sprouts), we realized the meatloaf was undercooked. So, we threw it back in the oven, ate the sides and then started on dinner. I’m all about breaking the mold and given my enormous sweet tooth, it’s pretty obvious that I adored having dessert first!
29 6 / 2012
This past weekend, Mike and I decided on an impromptu trip to Plattsburgh. We left Saturday afternoon and arrived just in time for dinner. Of course, first we hung out at his parent’s house and had some wine. Normally, I prefer very dry white wine and the Montys are sweet/juicy wine fans. When I sipped my glass, however, I adored what I was tasting. I was drinking white wine from an Upstate New York vineyard whose name I am unsure of but I think it’s called Niagara. So, of course I had seconds.
After imbibing, we headed over to Koto, the local Japanese steakhouse. I was dying for some sushi and I ordered a futo maki, spicy scallop maki and salmon skin maki. All three were delightful and for the first time EVER, I had a hard time finishing my meal.
The others ordered hibachi dinners with various proteins. Shortly after the waitress took our order, the hibachi chef arrived. I’ve been to a Japanese steakhouse only one other time, when I was a little girl. I remember being very entertained so I was psyched to have another experience. It was definitely entertaining! The first thing the chef did was squirt sake into Jim’s mouth. We all found that incredibly entertaining, especially because Jim managed to handle a lot of sake. I think the chef was impressed. Mike got the same treatment while the ladies at the table (myself and Mike’s mom) politely refused the sake treatment.
After lighting some food on fire, making lots of noises and spraying more sake into the men’s faces, we all had our food in front of us. I worked on my sushi and poked at Mike’s rice and steak and chicken. It was incredibly tasty- my favorite part was (obviously) the rice. It had yummy egg stirred in and a great, chewy texture.
We were all too full for dinner so we headed home. Mike and I briefly entertained the idea of starting a fire and roasting some marshmallows but ended up zoning out on the couch and watching Pawn Stars. Such an epic Saturday night.
27 6 / 2012
This week is me and Mike’s last week in our apartment together. Next week, we go on block leave- we’re visiting the Cape and my family, going up to Plattsburgh, perhaps Thousand Island Park and most likely, the Jefferson County Fair. So, there will be fun stuff to talk about in the early parts of July, YAY!! In the meantime, however, I am on a mission to clean out the whole fridge this week so we will be using EVERYTHING I’ve got. Actually, I started this project last week. So, in addition to the meatloaf (see previous post), I made a few other things…
Mixed, roasted veggies. These were superb! I just cut up a bunch of carrots, turnips and young potatoes and tossed them in oil, garlic and rosemary. I roasted them covered for about 25 minutes at 425 F and then roasted them uncovered for an additional 15, stirring them halfway through. The result was a tray of sweet, soft, caramelized veggies. I loveeeedddd them. In fact, I ate most of them right off the tray before I served them to Mike and our dinner guest, Dom (along with slow cooker roasted pork loin).
Another dish I made last week that went over particularly well was green beans. This was also very simple- I blanched the beans for 4 minutes (after trimming and washing) then shocked them in an ice bath. After melting some butter in a skillet and braising some onions until they were translucent, I added back the green beans and tossed to coat. A little salt and pepper and they came out great- buttery and sweet with a perfect crunch. Oh, I almost forgot- I gave them a light squeeze of lemon after plating. This recipe is a tweaked version of a Smitten Kitchen recipe for haricot vert with shallots.
I served the green beans with pan roasted chicken thighs in mole sauce and home made yellow rice. Dessert was walnut brownies. I just used the Hershey’s recipe and added ½ C of chopped walnuts. I overcooked them a little because I used the wrong dish and then forgot about them in the oven (oops) but they still tasted pretty darn good and weren’t dry.
I love when my goal is to clean out the fridge- I end up making tons of goodies and discovering a bunch of new recipes.
26 6 / 2012
I love Five Guys, as you all know. I finally remembered to take my own Five Guys picture. Mike and I headed there last week before going to see Chernobyl Diaries with Tony and his girlfriend Marlena. The way I watch scary movies is kind of…sad. I require a sweatshirt and I wear it with the hood up, curled up in a ball with my eyes all squinty and my hands near my ears so I can cover them up at a moment’s notice. Lame, I know. Anyway, I didn’t have a sweatshirt with me and so Marlena was kind enough to bring me one so I could survive the movie. Anyway, here is a picture of my amazing cheeseburger (I take it with pickles, onions, ketchup, lettuce and tomato).
And we also got some cajun fries- this was my first foray into the cajun fries and they were spicy and smokey and awesome.
25 6 / 2012
I love meatloaf. Love it love it love it. I don’t love meatloaf with too much tomato- maybe a touch of ketchup in the glaze but I don’t love seeing tomato mixed with the meat. So, when I’m in the mood for a loaf of meat, I tend to just make up my own recipe. The key is just to remember- 1.5lb of meat (I like 93% lean beef), 1 hour, 350 F. I also really like to throw in extra veggies. Most recipes call for onion and that’s it. I like to add pepper and carrot, too. And I add lots of spices. To this recipe, I added minced garlic, thyme, oregano and a touch of rosemary. Of course, breadcrumbs and an egg are essential as well. Finally, after mixing with my fingers (do NOT squeeze!!), I formed the meat into a loaf shape and tossed it in the oven for 10 minutes.
While it was baking, I mixed up the glaze. I mixed together honey, hoisin sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, and cumin. Yum!
After 10 minutes, I pulled out the meaty loaf and spread the glaze like I was frosting a cake.
Back in the oven it went and 50 minutes later, it came out fragrant and savory. I gave it a whole 30 seconds to cool before cutting into it. It was divine!
21 6 / 2012
One of my favorite ways to cook is use recipes as springboards for meals- I find a recipe that showcases an ingredient I’d like to use and then I tweak it, adjust it and go as far as turning it upside down. The other day, I had a bunch of leftover collard greens that were starting to turn. I had to use them up. I Googled collard greens and before hitting enter, I did a bit of thinking. It had been ages since I made a tasty pasta dish and recently, I saw one on Smitten Kitchen that incorporated mustard greens. I went back to the recipe and found that I was missing too much in my cupboard to make the recipe feasible. But it did inspire me. I added the word “pasta” to my search and hit enter. I came across this recipe from the New York Times and decided to make it, as it was incredibly versatile. I used angel hair pasta, one of my favorite shapes (quick cooking and fun to eat), white onions instead of red and extra red pepper and garlic. The dish was both beautiful and tasty. See, the reason I couldn’t adjust the SK recipe was that collard pose a problem: they need a little extra cooking and some other adjustments to cut through their bitterness. I needed a recipe that would address those things. Oh, by the way, the Times says to blanch the collard beforehand. I didn’t (I forgot, oops!) and frankly, the collards were great. Even Mike said I make awesome collards- comforting, filling, flavorful and soft. No weird cardboard texture or nasty bitterness.
I served the pasta with a simple open faced sandwich. I had some avocado that was also about to turn so I took it and smashed it with a bit of garlic and salt and spread it on whole wheat toast. After the pasta was finished, I fried an egg in some oil and perched it on top of each piece of toast. Immediately, Michael noticed that our dinner was vegetarian. However, after taking a bite of everything, I heard not a single complaint.
The same week, Kyung invited me out to the splash park on post for a picnic while her kiddos played around. I wanted to make deviled eggs but I didn’t have paprika. In searching for a parika-free alternative, I discovered deviled eggs with bacon. They were really fun to make because after cooking the bacon, I used some of the grease to mix into the yolks. And the bacon bits served as a lovely garnish. Kyung enjoyed the eggs but personally, they weren’t my favorite. I am a huge fan of the classic eggy devil. On a side note, they are so fun to make (even the classic ones)- I just love peeling hardboiled eggs and I adore mashing the yolk and dropping a spoonful into each empty white. Everything about the process to me is pretty, tasty and easy and therefore, incredibly satisfying. Along with the eggs, I used the leftover chicken from the spicy chicken fajitas I made the previous night to make chicken salad. I researched a few recipes for spicy chicken salad and made an amalgamation of all of them. I cubed the chicken (which was already rubbed with chile powder and cumin) and mixed it with walnuts and chopped apple. Then I made the very simple dressing: 2 parts light mayo stirred with one part honey. The salad came out great and I couldn’t help but snack on it before picnic time.