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Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 restaurants of 2011

We don't explore Brooklyn enough. So in 2011, we'll be visiting 12 well-known restaurants that I have never visited.

We'll dine at one per month and I'll post impressions here. Aside from Brooklyn Fare, we'll try to keep the bill for two consistently at $100 total (tax, tip, everything).

Here are the 12 restaurants (in no order).
  1. Buttermilk Channel
  2. Char No. 4
  3. Brooklyn Fare
  4. Roberta’s
  5. Good Fork
  6. Tanoreen
  7. Dressler
  8. Applewood
  9. Fonda
  10. Prime Meats
  11. Vinegar Hill House
  12. Locandi Vini e Olli

Simple Chicken Braise

So my kids are loving hot and saucy dishes (no pun, really) this winter. I invented this (I think) last week with a few ingredients in the fridge.

Chicken Braise
shopping = easy
difficulty = medium
expense = low

4 chicken thighs (skin-on), extraneous skin and fat removed, patted dry
3 carrots, sliced in half and then cut into 1/2" half-moons
1 onion, large dice
5 garlic cloves, peeled
5 red potatoes, peeled and large dice (match the onion)
3 T. canola oil
1/2 cup chicken broth (low-sodium) or water
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar

  1. In large OVEN-SAFE pot, heat 2 T. canola oil over medium-high heat
  2. Add all for thighs, skin-side down
  3. Leave chicken alone for 6 minutes
  4. remove chicken from pot to bowl
  5. increase heat to high
  6. [preheat oven to 400]
  7. add onions and garlic cloves to pot
  8. saute for 1 minute
  9. add carrots and potatoes to pot
  10. saute for 5 minutes
  11. add chicken and accumulated juices back to pan
  12. add broth/water
  13. add salt and sugar
  14. bring to boil
  15. turn off stove, put on lid, put pot in oven
  16. bake for 15 minutes
  17. remove from oven and eat over rice or with crusty bread

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Condiment 1: Cilantro Sauce

Very simple and hardly a recipe at all.

  1. 1 bunch washed and dry (important) cilantro
  2. 2 washed scallions, cut into 1" pieces
  3. 1 t. salt
  4. 1 t. agave
  5. 1 t. lime juice
Pulse in food processor. Serve same day.

Homemade condiments

We're back to roasting a couple chickens per week. The weather is cold. I can put some root vegetables under the birds that will taste great and fill the kids up. It's convenient and become second-nature.

Though I've grown a little tired of the chickens, the family still loves it. That led me to making my own condiments. They are really simple to make, taste fresh, and enliven other foods. In other words, they add.

We'll be exploring condiments in the next few posts

Sunday, September 5, 2010

iced coffee - improved

Over the last two months, I've made 13 batches of iced coffee. Some ok, a few terrible, & a few great. Here are lessons I've learned and hope this improves your homemade iced coffee. From my calculations, my homemade iced coffee costs 3.3 cents/ounce. Out, it can be as much as 27 cents/ounce.

Tips for Iced Coffee
  1. Use fresh beans, bought in bulk. Buy 1/3 pound for 2 cups of ground coffee.
  2. Grind the beans as soon to use as possible. Have a shop grind them coarsely (3rd to most coarse setting)
  3. Use tap water that sat out overnight (why?).
  4. Use medium or light roasts - french and dark roasts produce a bitter iced coffee
Process for Brewing Iced Coffee
  1. 2 cups ground beans to 4 cups water in glass or ceramic.
  2. Stir for 30 seconds - you'll see a tan plume
  3. Cover with plastic wrap
  4. Leave on counter for 20 to 24 hours, stir 2 or 3 times during this time.
  5. Strain into a pitcher
  6. Using a pour-over brewing system (Chemex, Melitta, Clever, etc.), pour strained iced coffee through rinsed filter
  7. Store filtered, strained iced coffee in glass jar for 2 weeks in Refrigerator
Process for Making an Iced Coffee
  1. Fill 16 oz. pint glass with as much ice as you can fit
  2. In measuring cup pour 1 part iced coffee (I use 3 oz.) and 1 part water
  3. Add simple syrup to taste (into measuring cup
  4. Pour into pint glass slowly
  5. Add milk to taste

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

corn essence

It's time. CORN! Don't make this unless you have use for the kernels. This is a corn 'broth' that makes anything and everything taste good. I would add it to anything that calls for broth. I would even think of adding 1 part essence (cold), 1 part tonic, 1 part gin. Delicious.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a shallow pan.
Add 6 corn cobs.
Add bottoms of cilantro or basil.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Put liquid in a clean pan and reduce by 50%.

Refrigerate and use within 3 days.

Blueberry Sherbet

Remember, sherbet has 1 "r," not 2. Ok, we got that straight. I've been making quarts of ice cream weekly and this seems to strike the balance between satisfying, lightish, and summery goodness.

Sherbet - Milk - Eggs = Ice Cream

Blueberry Sherbet
shopping = easy
difficulty = medium
expense = medium

3 pints blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 t. kosher salt
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. vodka, (I use dogfish vodka - local ingredients)
2/3 cup heavy cream
(if you are going to buy one organic, high-quality item here, make it the cream)

  1. In a medium saucepan, add blueberries, water, salt, sugar
  2. Using a potato masher, mash mixture carefully, 2 minutes
  3. Bring mixture to simmer.
  4. Simmer 5 minutes
  5. Cover and cool for 1 hour
  6. Press mixture through a strainer into a glass/steel container.
  7. Cool mixture overnight (the remaining blueberry mash is a great fresh jam.)
  8. [Next Day] Whisk cream to soft peaks.
  9. While whisking (or with KitchenAid on low), slowly pour in blueberry mixture.
  10. Whisk for 20-30 seconds - some white streaks is ok.
  11. Turn on ice cream machine and pour in mixture.
  12. Churn for 15-20 minutes (SHERBET SHOULD NOT BE STIFF. THAT WOULD BE TOO FAR.)
  13. Put into pint containers and freeze for 2+ hours

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fennel + Sweet Potato side dish

this is a simple and enjoyable side dish.

Braised Fennel & Sweet Potato
shopping = easy
difficulty = low
expense = low

Secure a heavy-bottom, oven-safe pan.

1 Fennel bulb, fronds removed, cut into 8 pieces
1 Sweet Potato, peeled, cut into 16 pieces
1 T. butter or olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 cup water

  1. Heat butter (or oil) on medium-high heat to foaming but NOT browning stage
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Add fennel and sweet potato, ensuring each piece has a little butter on bottom
  4. Cook for 5 minutes NOT moving vegetables
  5. Warm water in another pot with salt and pepper
  6. Pour water over vegetables
  7. Move pan to oven.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until liquid is mostly reduced and knife slides out of sweet potato easily

remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

APAW 4 - fig and walnut tart

Fig & Walnut Tart
I wanted to try something all-season to see if I could work on a "go-to" pie. I came across a few variations of this tart between Claudia Fleming's The Last Course, Alice Waters Chez Panisse Desserts, and Baking Illustrated.

I settled on the Baking Illustrated recipe and substituted Cointreau in, Brandy out.
The recipe called for the Italian dough "Pasta Frolla." I was excited to work with that type of dough as it's supposedly more forgiving.

Well long story short the tart was nice, homey, and tasty - but nothing great. I rolled out a slightly uneven crust which lead to some nice crackly sections and other cakey sections.

Next time, I'll substitute out half the walnuts for pine nuts, when they go down in price. Have you seen the price of pine nuts today?