Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cooking: Shrimp Cobb Pasta Salad

My first dish for the potluck. The weather was warm so I thought a salad would be a nice light touch. I knew there would be other heavy foods there so this would be a good alternative. One of the most important ingredients in the cobb salad: bacon. I cooked these on a lower heat to render the fat without becoming too crispy. I also boiled some eggs for the salad. And here's the shrimp. Peeled and deveined. Cooked simply with salt, pepper, and oil. With those cooked ingredients, I tossed them with the salad greens, tomatoes, avocado, and blue cheese. The salad came out nice and the blue cheese wasn't very overpowering. However, the warm weather made it looks sadder and sadder as the day went on. Also, the next day, the blue cheese made the salad inedible since it over powered every single thing. Otherwise, I liked this a lot. It didn't require any dressing at all. I let the flavors of the individual ingredients stand out. Read more...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FBM Potluck #2

It was that time again: Potluck time! My friends and I decided to get together and show off our cooking skills. More importantly, we wanted to eat homemade delicious food and share recipes. This time, Chris hosted us and he was very gracious! The terrace was large and comfortable. And we piled the food around. I decided to make something light for the warmer weather. So cobb salad. But I put a twist to it with shrimp and pasta. It also contained the regular ingredients found in a cobb salad: eggs, bacon, avocado, greens, tomatoes, and blue cheese. However, I didn't think the salad was enough. I had less ingredients than I thought I would for the cobb salad. I stepped it up with a real crowd pleaser: pork belly buns. That's right, thick cut pork bacon sandwiched with homemade young pickles, green onions, some hoisin sauce in between soft white buns. I was really happy with my results. I thought it tasted pretty great. Here is some chicken tikka masala and naan made by CT. I liked the flavor in this dish though I thought the chicken was slightly dry. Banana pudding made by Casey. This is the first time I ever had banana pudding and I liked it! I enjoyed the contrast in textures with the nilla wafers and walnuts. Cheeeeeeeese made some bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. He brought along a torch for to melt the parmesan. Mmm, melty cheese. I like the flavor of the tomatoes. They were marinated really well. TT made pizza meatballs which were mozzarella stuffed meatballs covered in sauce. And this is what the inside looks like. I liked these a lot. Who doesn't like a good meatball? Especially one stuffed with cheese? Sir Eats A Lot made some chicken marsala. Again, really good flavor here. Chicken was tender. Esther of Ambitious Deliciousness made some really good jap chae and pork bulgogi. I'm going to have to get that jap chae recipe from here. Such a good simple noodle dish to eat at any time. Goats made cheesesteaks. He literally took steaks, sliced them thin, added veggies and cheese and wrapped them to reheat. Awesomeness. Megan's seven layer dip. I don't remember what each of the seven layer were but they were yummy layers. Chris went all professional and did Korean tacos. He even whipped out his handy sous vide machine to cook the beef short ribs. With that, we heated up some tortilla, made some easy kimchee, tomatillo sauce, and chopped veggies. Here's a completed Korean taco for your pleasure. This is one of the fusion foods I do agree with. Casey didn't stop at the banana pudding. She also made brownies. Mini brownies! These were more cake-ish than fudgey. I prefer fudgey but these were still tasty. And she made an onion dip and hummus. Some potato and pita chips for dipping. Our breaths were raunchy after this. This just means that the dips were super flavorful with garlic and onions. Yvo of The Feisty Foodie made magic chicken fingers. I really liked the crunch that were on these. They were salty though but I love salt so it was perfect for me! And some roasted broccoli. Surprisingly had a lot more flavor than I thought it would. I munched on these liberally. Dave of BeerBoor brought over some green chili. Really great flavor in this. I never had green chili before. But if this is what it tastes like, I'm happy! The BlindBaker made a checkerboard cake. Look at that nice vanilla icing. Look carefully and you can see the vanilla bean spots. And here's an inside pic. Fancy! I definitely had a slice of that. Mmm, cake! She also made some buffalo chicken dip. Cheesy, spicy, creamy, chickeney dip! This is what my first plate looked like. I made sure to get a little of everything. But it didn't all fit on my plate! But not to worry, I went back for the rest, especially that cheesesteak. Dessert was eaten later. And of course, I grazed throughout the day. These plates were just my first official meal. Man o man, these people can cook. I'm so happy that they're my friends and that I can mooch good food from them. Smiles all around. For some of these recipes, please find them here at The Feisty Foodie. Read more...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lunch Week 37: Antipasti

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Antipasti I didn't have much time to make an elaborate lunch for the week. However, I realized that I had many different kinds of Italian foods in jars or in the fridge. So, I cleared out my pantry and fridge drawer with this lunch. I wanted to make at least one part of the lunch. I wasn't sure of what then I was inspired by an Ellie Kreiger recipe from watching the Food Network/Cooking Channel. It's baked zucchini slices (recipe at end of post). I start with 2 small zucchinis. Then I sliced them thinly, tossed with salt, pepper, and olive oil In another dish, I mixed some seasoned bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. I took each slice of zucchini and covered it liberally with the bread crumb and cheese mixture. I made sure to press the coating firmly into the squash so that it would stick. Then into an oven at 450oF for about 20 minutes. Once they're golden brown, they're ready. Let cool slightly and eat! These are best eaten right away since the crust is still crunchy and the cheese still melted. Makes a great snack! And now the assembly begins. Starting from the upper left hand corner going clockwise: baked zucchini slices, sardines, leafy salad, harvati cheese, and sweet soppresata. The other side is more veggie heavy. Again, starting from the upper left hand corner going clockwise: pickled eggplant (from a good friend's trip to Italy), grape tomatoes, long stemmed marinated artichokes, black olives, and roasted red peppers. I eventually also added some pepperonchini (not shown) for extra flavor and variety. Though this lunch was really easy to assemble, it's really delicious. The different flavors and textures of the foods are great. I never get sick of anything because there's only a couple of bites of each. Oh and this is best served at room temperature. I refrigerate it overnight then let sit at my desk from the morning until noon. It comes up to room temperate just nicely. It's a nice Italian spread! Recipe Provided by Food Network.com Zucchini Parmesan Crisps 2008 Ellie Krieger Ingredients * Cooking spray * 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total) * 1 tablespoon olive oil * 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce) * 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs * 1/8 teaspoon salt * Freshly ground black pepper Directions Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately. Read more...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Margon

I finally went back to Margon for lunch. I loved it the first time I went there but the food is just too delicious. I could easily become addicted to their dishes. So easy. Anyway, my main draw this time was their famous octopus salad. I had seen it the last time but wasn't sure. Then I heard that they were rated one of the best in the city. So, how could I not try? Off I went across the street and into the tiny place that's always packed. But they're efficient. They certainly know how to make everyone happy. Here's the small octopus (8 oz - $6.75) which I thought was kind of pricey. In actuality, I don't know how much octopus costs so that assumption was wrong by me. Anyway, their salad comes with dressed tomatoes and cilantro. It's almost like a ceviche. It's light and really flavorful. The octopus pieces are sliced really thin which helps with any rubbery texture. I really enjoyed this. I could see myself eating this for lunch on its own. I would get the larger size though (medium 16 oz $13.50, large 32 oz $27). That day's special (Thursday) included Fried Chicken Chunks ($8.50) along with a slew of other wonderful sounding dishes. They describe it as the chicharon de pollo. Umm, with that kind of description, how could I say no? So they first gave me this: a platter of the sides. It included rice (your choice of white or yellow), tostones, and beans. This would have been a meal within itself. Flavorful, delicious, and completely filling. However, I needed to save my stomach room for this: the fried chicken chunks. Deep fried chicken pieces that look like cut up drumsticks. I received a whole container of this. I didn't count how many pieces of chicken were in this but easily about 10. The chicken could be a little dry but the flavor was really nice. They don't batter nor bread the chicken. Just good old deep fry. I only made it through half of each of the chicken and the side of rice, beans, and tostones before I threw in the towel and saved the rest for later. And this held up really well for later consumption. It was delicious even when cold! Oh man, Margon was so good again. The octopus salad was light and a perfect beginner to the heavy meal that followed. The fried chicken pieces were really good and the sides made me all warm inside. I'll say this again and again, I'll go to Margon any day. Though, I would have to be prepared for a food coma afternoon. Margon 136 W 46th St New York, 10036 (212) 354-5013 margonrestaurant.com Read more...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Parsi Food: Dinner

Later that night, there was a party at the house. We started off with some cheese: brie, monterey jack. Some dip and crackers were also offered. Someone brought over some aleti poleti which is seasoned chicken livers. It was actually pretty good and didn't taste too irony. I enjoyed it. Dinner was rice with goat curry, fried meatballs, and salad. Ugh, my stomach is not happy with me. Too full. Overeating is a problem when it comes to delicious food. Read more...

Parsi Food: Snack

More delicious Parsi food to be had. Here are some samosas, shrimp kabobs/meatballs, and cutlis. Don't be fooled with the brown food. Everything was fried meaning it's good. Hah! Read more...

Parsi Food: Lunch

Lunch with Mr. Meat & Potatoes' parents includes rice withe shrimp curry, an egg, a pattis, some salad, and a porah. The heavy meal was lightened up with some fresh fruit: cherries, strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. Read more...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cherry Cranberry Jam

I'm hooked on making my own jams/preserves. This time I made cranberries and cherries. Pitting cherries by hand is one of the most tedious things I've ever done in the kitchen. I don't recommend it at all, especially when you don't have a pitter. Then cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer until the fruit breaks down. Then add sugar to taste. When cooled, it congeals and becomes thick enough to spread. I add it to my plain yogurt. One thing to note, my cherry skins became really thick and chewy. It would be better to strain this one. Read more...