Archive for the 'Savory' Category

Fish taco

We started this thing called communal dinner in my new house. I like to cook. They like to eat. It’s a happy story.

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Pepperjack and bicolor corn quesadillas

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Taco fixings: fish, heirloom salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions

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Fish taco

Recipes for the quesadillas here and fish taco here. I opted for the cheaper tilapia instead of halibut/bass and it was just fine. Also added a couple tbs. of mirin to the pickling liquid. The onions were lovely.

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Odds and ends III

(Continued from last post)

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When I needed a MAJOR arm exercise

My first time making semifreddo and what a success (and a workout!) Whipping is definitely my favorite step in the whole baking/dessert-making process. With just one whisk and your bare hands, you can turn viscous egg whites or thick heavy cream into glossy white clouds that are light as air. Pouf! Like magic. Of course, if you have an electric mixer then by all means, use it and save yourself from the sweat session and forearm cramps. But if you’re not pressed for time, I highly recommend whipping by hand. It’s therapeutic and it makes me feel like superwoman.

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Whipping egg whites

Originally I was going to quadruple the recipe since the dinner was for 15-20 people (shoutout to my drum troupe!!). And then I started whipping the egg whites, then I whipped the heavy cream, and then I went back to whipping the second batch of egg whites…yeah you get the idea, semifreddo is a hella lotta whipping! If you feel like your right forearm (or left if you’re a leftie like me) is getting a little too flabby, this is the ultimate dessert to make. I ended up only doubling the recipe.

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Folding in ground pistachio with whipped egg whites and cream

I pretty much just followed this recipe from Gourmet–the Jan ’07 issue has so many good recipes–and then chopped up more pistachio to go on top for more crunch. The texture turned out amazing–super-light yet deliciously creamy. Who needs an ice-cream maker when you have forearm muscles? So simple and the result was definitely worth all that whipping.

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Voila! Pistachio semifreddo

When the fridge and I needed to detox

Seriously in need of a major detoxification, both the fridge and I. And what’s a better way to cleanse ourselves than a salad? An “everything goes” salad no less!

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Dainty asparagus spears glossed up with olive oil ready for roasting

First I started with a layer of roasted asparagus, then a generous shaving of pecorino, followed by slices of fresh plums (or I guess not that fresh considering they’d been hibernating in the refrigerator for quite some time…). Next I made the apricot vinaigrette: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots, apricot preserve, salt and pepper.
Then I tossed some mesclun greens and diced apples in the vinaigrette, topping it with crispy fried pancetta. And then, to finish it off in true gaudy style, an apple swan. ūüėÄ

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Salad of mesclun greens with apples, plums, and crispy pancetta in apricot vinaigrette on a mat of roasted asparagus with pecorino

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The apples and arugula were slightly bruised. Oops.

When I channeled Gilbert

Although his expertise is probably more sushi than Filipino food, Gilbey inspired me to make chicken adobo. Unfortunately, something went wrong and it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped.

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Chicken adobo, supposedly

G: hmmm, it’s good but it doesn’t really taste like adobo I’m used to.
A: mmm yeaaa…

When Gilbert channeled Giada de Laurentis

And then he watched Giada on the Food Network, and she inspired him to make the spinach puffs. They were yummy!

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Cheese and spinach puffs

When I had my cheese-y breakdown

Remember how I had that amazing caprese at Mozza and suddenly became obsessed with burrata? I found it at Murray’s Cheese Shop one day and couldn’t help giving it a shot.

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Burrata on chilled roasted beets with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (trial 1)

The Italian import came wrapped in white plastic and “river bamboo leaves,” all covered in “river water.” The minute I got home, I untied the package and tried a little portion on roasted beets. I took my first bite and it was unsettling; the burrata didn’t taste like what I had at Mozza at all. It was not creamy or runny or any of those things I was expecting. Extremely disoriented from my first trial of the cheese, I emailed my cheese authority and asked. I was so confused and desperate. It’s my first cheese breakdown and I hope it’s also my last.

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Burrata on chilled roasted beets (trial 2)

But by the time I received his informative reply, I’d gone for a second trial. This time I cut through the center and lo and behold, there was runny liquidy thing in the middle! Just imagine the excitement. The difference in texture was vast. Again, I put a little dollop on each slice of roasted beet, followed by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It made for a very satisfying afternoon snack!

Odds and ends II

(Continued from last post)

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When we turned 1412 into House of Flying Pajun

Here’s when BFF and I tried to be Korean and sent pancakes flying all over my kitchen. We only missed once! But then B Oppa came home…

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BFF is a master at flipping the pajun/buchimgae

B Oppa: (stepped into the kitchen, sniffed the air) You made buchimgae?
A: It’s haemul pajun. They’re too thick I think.
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae.
A: I’m pretty sure it’s haemul pajun? The seafood pancakes?
B Oppa: It’s buchimgae! And they should be thicker than this. Smells good though.

Sometimes you think you know…but you really have no idea. The haemul pajun recipe here gave me pretty good results. I haven’t played around with it that much yet, but the pancakes were yummy alright.

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Haemul pajun/buchimgae?

When I finally tried that Ruth Reichl’s Swiss Pumpkin recipe (and failed)

You remember those cute little squashes featured in this post? So one day G asked me, “So Anisa, are you ever gonna cook something with those small squashes? Or are they just for photo op?”

HAHAHA

I decided it’s about time to put them squashes in the oven rather than in front of the camera. After all, I’ll admit they’d been sitting there for quite some time ( but hey, they made an excellent rustic accent to our eating area). A recipe for Swiss pumpkin from Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples immediately came to mind. I’d been wanting to try that recipe forever, and sugar dumpling squash is just like a miniature pumpkin right?

I cut off the top of my petite squashes, scooped out their innards, and stuffed them with layers of bread and a mixture of eggs, cream, gruyere cheese, and spices. Since the cavities were so small, I wasn’t able to fit that much custard in each of the squashes. Instead of gooey cheesy goodness, I ended up with a wet glob of bread and virtually no custard in each squash bowl. It would’ve been perfectly fine if I had used a pumpkin or a bigger squash, but oh well, I guess another time!

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Swiss sugar dumpling squash

Despite the taste failure, I still think it turned out ridiculously cute, and seriously, isn’t that all that matters? =p

When we couldn’t resist Valentine’s Day romanticalness

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and our collective fabulousness this year, M, S, BFF and I got together for a romantic soiree at a certain clandestine location overlooking the Manhattan skyline. (guess where? =p)

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The tablespread

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Chilled Prince Edward Island Oysters with Date Emulsion
oysters, dates, apple, shallots, thyme, cider vinegar, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper

Salmon and Hamachi Ceviche
salmon, hamachi, bell peppers, pomegranate, fuyu persimmons, cucumber,
blood orange juice, lemon juice, dashi, soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar

Bacon-Wrapped Enoki on Skewers
bacon, enoki, soy sauce, dashi, sesame oil, mirin, black pepper

Cold Soba with Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber
soba, wakame seaweed, cucumber, furikake, dashi, mirin

Lavender cr√®me br√Ľl√©e
yolks, cream, sugar, vanilla beans, lavender

Berries with Moscato d’Asti Sabayon
Moscato d’Asti, yolks, sugar, mixed berries

Riesling, Champagne, Moscato d’Asti

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Raw Oysters

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Salmon and hamachi ceviche

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Bacon-wrapped enoki on skewers

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Cold soba with wakame seaweed and cucumber
There was supposed to be uni in this but Citarella ran out!

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Lavender cr√®me br√Ľl√©e

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Torching!

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Moscato d’Asti Sabayon

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S getting amused by the strawberry

Odds and ends I

Time to clean up my to-blog list!

Miscellaneous things I made in the past five months…

When we ran out of Kraft singles

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Sriracha tuna salad, Sichaun peppercorn pickles,
Pecorino crisp and mesclun greens on rye

The original plan was tuna melt, but then I had to change my agenda slightly due to the lack of Kraft Singles. But fear not! When there’s a will (to eat), there’s always a way. Luckily I found a wedge of pecorino in the fridge, so I just grated up a good amount and crisped it in a dry pan on the stove–this would make a good snack on its own too with some extra seasoning. For the tuna salad, I mixed canned tuna (in water, drained) with chopped onion, a portion of mayonnaise and an equal portion of Sriracha hot sauce, then finished with a squeeze of lemon. I love the Sriracha-mayo combination. It’s a great way to cut calories without compromising the taste. I piled the tuna salad on a piece of rye, followed by a few slices of homemade Sichuan peppercorn pickle, then the mesclun greens, and finally the cheese crisp. I guess you could call it a tuna tartine.

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Pecorino crisp

For the Sichuan peppercorn pickles, I used a simple pickle recipe from Epicurious as a reference for the vinegar/water/sugar ratios and then made modifications to it (lots of garlic and crushed Sichuan peppercorn instead of dill). Pickling is actually a lot of fun because you can really go wild with the choice of spices/flavorings you put in the brine. Plus it takes only five minutes but it makes you feel really domestic, which is a good thing (as Martha Stewart would say :p). Then you let the pickles soak up the yumminess of your self-designed brine for 1-2 weeks, and there you have it, your very own homemade pickles. Now how about homemade Koolickles? *cringe*

When the weather outside was frightful

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Tom Kha Gai – hot and sour chicken soup with coconut milk and galangal
(hah, wordy enough for ya?)

Nothing warms you up like a bowl of soup, and here’s a really great one: Tom Kha Gai. Besides keeping you warm on a chilly day, the kha in Tom Kha Gai can help alleviate your stomach discomfort, help with indigestion, remedy vomiting, treat diarrhea, improve circulations to your hands and feet, and even cures hiccups. This is not counting the health benefits from lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves–miracle soup indeed!

(“Kha” is the Thai word for galangal. It is a relative of ginger.)

Tom Kha Gai is among my favorite Thai soups to make because most Thai restaurants in the States just can’t get it right; they butcher it with too much sugar and coconut milk. The result is a disgusting, depthless, overly thick, cloyingly sweet soup. My grandmother would raise hell at the taste of it (I am so serious). Tom Kha Gai in its true form should not have any sugar in it, and the ratio of coconut milk to chicken broth:stock should be no higher than 1:3. The key is to use enough herbs–galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves–so the soup gets sufficiently infused with their flavors and aromas. Another crucial ingredient is lime juice, because it cuts through the richness of the coconut milk and chicken fat. Most restaurants tend to use too little lime juice resulting in something that is either too salty or sweet, or just plain flat.

Tom Kha Gai (hot and sour chicken soup with coconut milk and galangal)

1/2 lb. chicken breast/thighs/drumsticks (sliced if using breast)

6 cups chicken broth or water (or a mix)

1-2 cups coconut milk

2-4 stalks of lemongrass, cut into short pieces, and pounded

3-6 kaffir lime leaves

5-10 slices of galangal

2-4 fresh Thai chilies, pounded

lime juice and fish sauce

1) Boil the chicken broth or water in a pot. Add the chicken and simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

2) Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. The quantity to use for each herb really depends on whether the herbs are fresh or frozen and also your liking. I like my soup very aromatic so I usually throw in a lot more of each thing than what most Tom Kha Gai recipes call for. It’s probably better to add a moderate amount at first then keep tasting and adjusting along the way. Let the soup simmer.

3) After simmering and infusing for about 8-12 minutes, add the coconut milk. Again, add a moderate amount at first, and if it’s not rich enough then you can add more later. Season the soup with fish sauce and lime juice. This is like a titration process; you just keep adding a little bit of each until it hits that right balance of flavors, just like when the solution turns pink.

There should be a pronounced sour taste, followed a salty and then spicy taste. The subtle hint of sweetness should only come from the chicken/chicken broth. If you like smoky flavors, you could substitute dried chilies for the fresh kind or even use a combination of the two. For more contrasting texture, you could also add oyster mushrooms to the soup (just make sure to add them towards the middle/end of the simmering so the mushrooms don’t become too flaccid).

Tom Kha Gai is extremely aromatic and piquant but still mild enough to be drinkable. This makes it likable even too people who are less adventurous with food, and I have yet to find a person who doesn’t like it. Among my biggest Tom Kha Gai fans are BFF and R. BFF is a very picky eater. R basically eats everything, literally. Once he was drinking the soup and he said, “These things are very fibrous. I can’t really swallow them.” So I replied, “Uhhh, those are herbs. They’re not for eating…they’re just there for the aroma. You might be able to eat the galangal, but definitely not the lemongrass. Dude, do they even taste like you should be eating them???”Then R said, “Which one’s lemongrass? But if they’re not for eating then why did you put them in there anyway?? Witch.”

Just remind me to make a bouquet garni with galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves next time. You should too, so someone won’t try to chew and swallow the herbs then choke to death.

Where to get Thai herbs:

I get mine in Chinatown. Udom’s Thai and Indonesian Store is a tiny hole in the wall jam-packed with all things Southeast Asian ranging from spices and condiments to dried food and frozen herbs. For Tom Kha Gai, I can usually find frozen galangal and frozen lemongrass here. Obviously, they won’t have as strong aromas as their fresh counterparts so you’d have to use more of them. Bangkok Center Grocery is exclusively Thai, and here you’ll find fresh, hard to find herbs like galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and even more exotic things like pandan leaves.

Udom’s Thai and Indonesian Store
81 Bayard St.
New York, NY 10013
(212) 349‚Äď7662

Bangkok Center Grocery
104 Mosco St.
New York, NY 10013
(212) 732‚Äď8916

To be continued…

Thai-style Chinese New Year

I’m a loser. I make resolutions. I break them. I make promises. I don’t keep them. I said I would post a gazillion entries so I could be up to date by last Friday. I did not do it. You should pull a Lisa Novak on me right now!! (Please check out that clip. It’s hilarious!!)

But aside from the whining, I just want to say Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! A, P and I had planned to wake up early this morning to make traditional Chinese breakfast (ish): chicken congee and tang yuan (sweet dumplings). But in true loser’s spirit, I slept past the agreed rendezvous time and therefore didn’t have enough time to soak and slowcook the rice – oh well. So instead of jook, I decided to make rice porridge, not the Chinese style xi fan though (would have made the xi fan but didn’t have enough ingredients for the side dishes). The chicken rice porridge I made was more like the Thai style khao tom. If it’s chicken porridge, you call it khao tom gai. If it’s shrimp, then call it khao tom goong. You get the idea. Khao tom in Thai literally means boiled rice. If you have to rank them in descending order of mushiness then it goes jook << xi fan << khao tom, or at least from my own experience with mushy, watery rice (I think risotto would go somewhere in between xi fan and khao tom).

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Khao Tom Gai (Thai style chicken rice porridge)

Khao tom gai might seem a little malapropos for the occasion, but if you think about it (by that I guess I mean if you know that I’m part Thai part Chinese, which you probably do if you’re reading this blog =p ), it’s actually quite befitting that I was celebrating Chinese new year with Thai style breakfast. The khao tom gai I reconstructed of course wasn’t all that authentic. Traditionally, you would use jasmine rice, the national grain of Thailand which is well-known for its subtle fragrance and nutty flavor. Its texture is also a little harder than that of the grain varieties normally used in Chinese/ Japanese/ Korean cuisine if you cook them for the same length of time. My broth is a mix of chicken broth, water and dashi. *gasp* My Thai grandmother would not approve of that at all, lol – only homemade stock made from chicken carcasses!!! (that’s what she would say). And then, which faux pas are we up to now? And then, I marinaded my chicken with a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and white pepper. In true Thai tradition, you would garnish your khao tom with egg omelette confetti, crispy fried garlic, and scallion. I followed that one! (although my egg ribbons were far from paper-thin, but I’ll try again next time.)

Components for khao tom gai:

1. steamed rice
2. bite-size chicken pieces seasoned to your liking
3. chicken soup
4. paper-thin egg omelette cut into dainty ribbons
5. chopped scallion
6. crispy fried garlic (minced garlic+vegetable oil. microwave for 3-4 min.)
7. white pepper (the peppery taste is very very essential to the whole assembly of flavors.)

Layer your khao tom gai components in that order and you get this:

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If you ever have a hankering for a soothing yet nourishing breakfast, ok you know what I’m going to say =p

Easy breezy Japanesey

I apologize for the long hiatus. No, I haven’t been that busy with schoolwork; it’s procrastination. *gasp* Sad but true, I procrastinate even with my blog!¬† Someone needs to put a stop to this disgusting situation.¬†A clamorous¬†call for rectification! I will do my penance for this lapse, and that translates to whatever number of posts this week so I can be up to date by Friday (a rather ambitious goal…oh god). Brace yourself for an overdose of new entries – two weeks worth of gluttony, oh my.

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 Spaghetti with enoki and Japanesey mesclun salad

Since the start of this semester, I’ve found myself going back¬†time¬†and again to the Japanese quarter in our multicultural pantheon of condiments. Thanks to Gilbey who¬†makes it his¬†duty to ensure¬†that the Japanase has ample representation in our kitchen. But ample or not, I have grown quite an appreciation for them Japanese condiments. I highly recommend that you stock your pantry with¬†the fab four: shoyu (soy sauce), dashi (stock/broth made from kelp and dried fish flakes), mirin (Japanese rice wine),¬†and rice wine vinegar. They are extremely versatile and make things delicious with minimal effort on your part (or my part in this case).¬†

So resulting¬†from my newfound obsession was what I’d like to call easy breezy Japanase-y cooking – copped-out, simple dishes that rely heavily on the umami-ness of certain Japanase condiments. One of my current favorites is enoki pasta, a quick dish that gets its dose of umami from the shoyu, dashi and mirin. Butter is an obvious choice for the fat here because it not only adds oomph but its taste and smell also complement the shoyu flavor very well.

Spaghetti with enoki and Japanesey mesclun salad

for the pasta:
Spaghetti, enoki, butter, garlic, shoyu, mirin, dashi stock, black pepper, dried seaweed and parsley for garnish

for the salad:
mesclun greens, grape tomatoes, dashi stock, mirin, olive oil, furikake

*quantity not specified because I’m lazy and also because it really depends on your taste.

1. Boil the spaghetti.

2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, tend to the mushroom. Melt butter in the skillet (I use 1 tbs). Add garlic and wait until it’s softened. Add enoki and all the condiments. Play with the flavors until it suits your taste. Be careful not to overcook the enoki.

3. Pasta is done! Add the nooldles to the skillet. Flavor-check one last time. Finish with a little bit of freshly ground black pepper, dried seaweed and parsley.

4. For the salad dressing, mix dashi, mirin and olive oil together. Drizzle it on the mesclun greens. Mix well. Finish with a generous sprinkle of furikake.

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Sesame crusted tuna, cold buckwheat soba salad, sauteed shitake mushroom

That same Sunday I made the enoki pasta, I remember I went on to make a more full-blown Japanesey meal for dinner. All the credits to James who insisted that we eat his tuna, proceeded to cook the tuna, and took all these pictures once again.

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James made these super-photogenic tuna (recipe here)

Since the guy was adamant about searing tuna, I was relegated to fashioning the sides. First I made a simple cold soba salad with crisp cucumber julienne using the same dressing that I made for the mesclun salad I ate earlier for lunch. I happened to have shitake mushroom on hand, so I sauteed it really quickly with butter and the same three condiments I used for the enoki pasta I ate earlier for lunch. Hah! How uninspired. But together, they made a light and balanced meal with the fish as the main protein anchoring the dish, the cold soba for carbs and refreshing taste, and the buttery shitake to round out the flavors.

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Cold soba salad with cucumber and dried seaweed

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I’m only putting this picture up so I can credit Ry for the placemats and chopsticks that he got for me from Shanghai. Haha, how thoughtful of you Ry!

To further prove my point of the easy-breeziness of this Japanese-y style of cooking, the following salad was put together in literally one minute. I took out a bowl and threw in some mesclun greens, leftover buckwheat soba, smoked salmon and grape tomatoes. Then I poured in a little bit of dashi, mirin and rice wine vinegar (no need for oil! very diet friendly) and finished with a dash of furikake and dried seaweed. It made a very satisfying and healthful (albeit a little sodium-laden) lunch.

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10 min carbonara, 20 min clams, and 30 min scones

 (And Rachael Ray can kiss my ass.)

You know, life is hard. And sometimes after a long day¬†at work strapped in that¬†crappy, backache-inducing chair which you have tried to screw down and up and down again but neither direction seemed to improve¬†your position so you sat back down¬†glumly and started complaining to your friends, on aim¬†or¬†gtalk, about how all of sudden you’re buried beneath an avalanche of work and whether you should go see a chiropractor because¬†the unpleasant tension in the left-hand corner of your upper back was beginning to¬†affect your¬†typing speed and because you earnestly believed that your back pain was hindering you from leading a fulfilling life, yes (please excuse my long prepositional phrase), after a long day like that, all you really want to do is to just collapse on a couch, stretch your limbs, and unwind, with a glass of wine preferably. But then, your stomach starts growling, and you’re really tempted to order in from some mediocre nearby place…resist that urge!¬†There¬†are so many¬†yummy things you can whip up in your own kitchen in less than¬†20 minutes, or even 10 minutes, way¬†faster than the¬†average waiting time for delivery.¬†Cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming or labor-intensive all the time. Your day was backbreaking enought so let’s just keep it simple, shall we?

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Spaghetti carbonara with smoked salmon

Spaghetti alla carbonara is a classic Italian dish. It’s so simple I swear it can’t take you longer than 10 minutes (unless you have a sucky pot that doesn’t conduct heat very well, then it’ll probably take you longer to boil the pasta…) Alla carbonara literally means “in the manner of the coal miners,” and¬†according to legend, the dish was popular among the charcoal miners because of the few ingredients it required and the fairly uncomplicated cooking method. Traditionally, you would make this dish with¬†eggs,¬†pecorino romano cheese, and pancetta (no heavy cream!). Some¬†recipes substitute parmesan or parmagiano-reggiano¬†for the pecorino or use a combination of cheeses, and some also substitute bacon for the pancetta. Use whatever¬†your heart desires.¬†I personally like pancetta better, but sometimes¬†when I feel like changing the flavor profile a little bit, then I use smoked salmon instead of pancetta.

Spaghetti alla carbonara with smoked salmon (1 reasonably portioned serving)
enough spaghetti for one reasonable portion
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or parmagiano-reggiano or pecorino)
3-4 slices of smoked salmon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and peper
1 sprig of parsley

1. Start boiling the spaghetti. The remaining steps can be done while the pasta is being cooked.
2. Smash the garlic. Heat the oil in a skillet at low to moderate heat. Toss in the garlic and let it sit there for 5-7 minutes (make sure it doesn’t burn). This will allow the garlic to release its aroma and the result is very flavorful garlic infused oil.
3. While the oil is being infused, cut the salmon into strips and crack the egg and mix it with the cheese. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper (not too much salt because the cheese and smoked salmon are already salty).
4. When the oil is ready, add the pancetta and saute for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. By this time, the pasta should be just perfectly al dente. Drain the pasta and add the hot pasta into the skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the pasta and stir like a mad woman, making sure you’re not stirring too hard that you’re breaking the spaghetti. If the pasta takes longer than the pancetta, turn off the heat on the skillet anyway and wait for the pasta.
5. Season the pasta generously with freshly ground pepper. The liberal use of black pepper is a modern-day metaphor for the specks of coal that would inevitably drop from the miners’ clothes to the plates of pasta (isn’t this story so neat?!?). Then garnish with parsley.

After the carbonara Tuesday, the backche still persisted, but so did my need for food. I happened to have soppresseta and littleneck clams on hand, so this recipe instantly came to mind. I love the combination of cured meat and shellfish here, and when I tried it on Wednesday, the result was very pleasing. The soppreseta and the crushed red pepper lend a nice spicy edge to the otherwise classic French dish of clams/mussels in whine wine broth. I used a white bordeaux and vermouth as called for in the recipe and served it over a mound of fettucine, although this would also be really nice with some crusty grilled bread to sop up the deliciously flavorful broth. Because of the minimal chopping, this only took me about 20 minutes from start to finish. Please try it!

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Littleneck clams with soppresetta and sweet vermouth

And here’s a look at the soppresetta…

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I think I had more than 3 slices during the course of cooking, but hey, they made good amuse bouche. My mouth was definitely amused =p

Last but not least, I made some scones yesterday before going to dinner. Yes, for better or for worse, my life revolves around food.

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Sundried-tomato and basil scones before going into the oven

If you know me, I put sundried tomato and basil in a lot of things, like a lot, but I can proudly say that this is my original recipe. I came up with this, hah! Again, these are so easy you can do it in less than¬†40 minutes. The scones are good for breakfast or late night snacks or anytime!¬† They are savory and buttery and reminiscent of pizza. Pizza! I think that’s why everybody loves them. One warning though, these babies are definitely not for dieters or people with weight/heart problems. Ok now that that’s cleared up, I have no liabilities.

Sundried tomato and basil scones  (16-20 scones)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 stick of cold butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmasan cheese
1/2 cup tightly packed chopped basil (approx.)
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (approx.)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Sift.
2. Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add them to the flour mixture and and mix it with your fingers briefly, briefly being the operative word. Stop mixing when it gets to wet sand consistency. So what if you overmix? The consequence here is grave because you will end up with heavy and cakey scones, which can’t really be called scones since proper scones¬†have to be¬†light and flaky.
3. Add in the heavy cream and grated cheese. Mix briefly to form a dough. Then add the basil and sundried tomatoes. At this point you can break and bake whichever way you like. I like to roll mine up in wax paper with a bamboo sushi roller, so I end up with a long cylinder, which makes it easier and faster to form uniform looking scones.
4. Bake the scones at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Because the flecks of sundried tomatoes and basil always burn very quickly on the outside, I like to lower the heat to 325F after 15 minutes,¬†so the scones don’t look too unappetizing.

And very very lastly, I haven’t forgotten about my eggs! I’ve been playing around with them, and I will post an epic entry¬†on them¬†soon. It will be interesting.

¬†Now go make scones and don’t forget to eat locally and buy from farmers’ markets. =)

org-eggs.jpg

My Fairway organic eggs that have been trucked in all the way¬†from Wisconsin. Buying from farmers’ markets will decrease the amount of petroleum wasted on transportation.

p.s. I take horrible photos. I’m sorry.