Tuesday, January 29, 2013


These are some of the best. This weekend I decided that the grilled chicken sandwich at Pier 500 is my absolute favorite chicken sandwich.

herb-marinated chicken breast with bacon, Jack cheese, basil mayonnaise, and quick-pickled cucumbers

One of my top three favorite kinds of fries are these salt and vinegar fries from Pier 500. (These are another favorite.)

salt and vinegar fries with chipotle ketchup and basil mayonnaise

I was glad to get back and have these in Hudson while visiting my family. I hope next time I'll get a photo of my favorite nachos from San Pedro Cafe.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

what $40 at the farmer's market will get you

watermelon, apples, mixed baby lettuce, leeks, snap peas, red peppers, whole chicken, eggs, parmesan, sharp cheddar, poblanos, goat cheese

I think this will be a tasty week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

another brush with greatness



Behold! Another recipe from Tom Colicchio's 'wichcraft cookbook. Many of the recipes in the book involve a complicated meat preparation in order to produce the sandwiches. I was initially intimidated by this, but then realized that the recipes make for two nights of meals: one where I cook the meat and eat it as the entree, the second when I use the leftover meat to make my sandwich. In a post on Serious Eats last week, I was reminded of a goal of mine: to make one large meat portion that will last for two or more meals. Stretching meat in this way is more economical, healthier, and more earth-friendly.

I made the short ribs Saturday evening (be ready to spend several hours near the kitchen) and then made the sandwiches Monday night for a quicker dinner. I couldn't imagine making the short ribs and the sandwich in one shot. This way worked much better.

The short ribs were served with very simple mashed red-skinned potatoes and the carrots that roasted with the meat. The mashed potato recipe is included below. Don't shy away from the horseradish in the sauce--I went on the light side and wished I had included the full amount for flavor. Also, for the sandwiches I didn't get around to pickling the vegetables, but I really wish I had. We just topped the sandwich with some thinly sliced radishes and carrots, but the tart quick-pickles would have really brightened the overall flavor. You'll need to make the veggies ahead, as they have to refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Maybe next time I'll make them while the meat braises.

Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Pickled Vegetables, Aged Cheddar, and Horseradish

adapted from 'wichcraft by Tom Colicchio

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless short ribs, cut into 4 pieces (I used about 1 1/2 lbs with bones in, worked fine)
1/2 small carrot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 cups brown ale (I used a winter ale that I had on hand)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or a few shakes of dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
4 thick slices aged cheddar
1 cup pickled vegetables (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Add the oil to a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear on all sides. (According to Smitten Kitchen, this step should not be rushed nor should the ribs be crowded. It should take between 15 and 45 minutes and can be done in two shifts if there's not enough room.) Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic to the same skillet and saute until caramelized. Add the ale and deglaze. Place the meat back into the skillet and add the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven. Braise for about 2 1/2 hours, until fork tender. Remove and transfer the meat to a clean skillet. Keep oven on.

Strain the braising liquid and discard the fat. In a bowl, combine the strained liquid and the horseradish, and pour over the meat in the new skillet. Over low heat, glaze the meat as the liquid reduces. Remove from the heat when the pot is almost dry.

Mashed Red-Skinned Potatoes

from epicurious.com

2 pound red potatoes
1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

Cut potatoes (with skin) into 1-inch pieces, then generously cover with cold salted water (1 teaspoon salt for 5 cups water) in a large saucepan and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat milk, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.

Drain potatoes well in a colander and return to pan. Mash with a potato masher, and, while hot, stir in milk mixture. Season with salt.

Cut the baguette into four pieces and slice each in half. Remove some of the bread from the top halves. Slice the meat and distribute one piece on each bottom half of bread. Spoon some of the liquid left in the skillet over the meat. Place the cheese on top of the meat and transfer to the oven together with the top slices of bread. Remove once the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Spread some horseradish on the top slices (optional, but recommended). On the bottom halves, top the cheese with the pickled vegetables. Close the sandwiches, cut into halves, and serve.

Pickled Vegetables

from 'wichcraft by Tom Colicchio

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 star anise
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 bulb fennel, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 large carrot, sliced on the bias and cut in half (about 1 cup)
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
4 garlic cloves

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups water, the vinegar, wine, sugar, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, star anise, and salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and pour into a large bowl containing the fennel, carrot, radishes, and garlic. Set aside and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Keeps well if refrigerated in its liquid for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

new beginnings: parmesan baked eggs

I have (finally!) finished my Master's degree, so now it's on to new frontiers.  Specifically, I will be a library media specialist in an elementary school this fall, and we're moving next month.  I'm also ready to reinvigorate this blog, if only to fill the gap in my time left by the absence of school work (good riddance!).

It's fitting that I'm thinking of new things at this time in the year, when farmer's markets are reopening and little green shoots are arriving in CSA boxes.  The best thing to do with those tender greens is to treat them very gently, if at all.  Better yet, pair them with a perfectly cooked egg.  I love this recipe for parmesan baked eggs from Pinch of Yum because it's simple and quick, yet it feels decadent to dip toasts into rich orange egg yolks.  All it needs are some lightly dressed spring greens for a well-rounded dinner.

Parmesan Baked Eggs

Pay close attention to the tops of the eggs and try to stick to the time recommendation.  They may not seem done, but don't overcook as you don't want the yolks to get hard.  The eggs will continue cooking a bit as they sit.

1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
6 eggs
1 tbsp heavy cream (or half and half)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, heat butter and oil.  Add shallot and saute until soft and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Add herbs and salt; remove from heat and stir to combine.  The mixture should be somewhat coarse and just a little buttery.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Place a small pat of butter (about 1 tsp) in the bottom of each of 3 ramekins.  Place in oven until butter is melted.

Remove ramekins from oven, add 1 tsp of cream to each, and crack 2 eggs into each ramekin without breaking the yolk.  Sprinkle the her mixture over the top of each ramekin and return to the oven.  Bake for about 7 minutes.

Turn up the heat to the broil setting and let the eggs broil for another 1-2 minutes.  Remove from oven when egg whites are just set and yolks are still soft.  Let stand for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese.  Serve with broiled hearty bread rubbed with a garlic clove on both sides.