Monday, April 26, 2010

Pheral Cook

Hello from Phoenicia. We’re up here for the week to do nothing—sit in front of the fire, catch up on our reading, eat S’mores and maybe, if it stops raining, go on the occasional hike. Scout is having a blast. 

Scout’s “15 Minutes of Frame” in Woodstock

Been enjoying it so far, ate at the Little Bear today for lunch. Floods of childhood memories. Experimenting with the S’mores (and making them perfect!), drinking wine. Blah blah blah.

Good S’Mores, Bad Photo

The reason for this blog is that I’m learning how to cook. I thought we’d barbeque tonight. Got some meat (I don’t even know what kind of meat to buy. The butcher talked me into beef cubes & shrimp), some vegetables. City slickers couldn’t figure out how to turn on the grill. I kid you not. Ended up broiling the meat. It was just ok. JustAwesome had a tofu dog. We abandoned her grilled tofu. We did make a lovely roasted asparagus and some mushrooms and onions. Forgot the potatoes. Everything was tasty but...not the plan. 
Wine and fire made it great.

For the rest of my life, when I travel I am going to pack a Feral Cook Survivor Pack: good olive oil (we like Frankie’s), a chunk of parmesan/pecorino and course salt. I think the salt would’ve been good on the S’Mores. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010



So, we are just about entering the most exciting time of year, yeah you guessed it, soft shell crab season. There are few things that I enjoy more. Soft shell crabs rank up there with ramen, JustAwesome, potato chips and Scout (in no particular order). It’ll be a month before we start seeing them on the streets of Chinatown (and I’ll get to eat them with some regularity) but I just couldn’t wait. I headed west to Citarella to get my fix.

Fans of crabs tend not to cook them at home because it is a little gruesome, if you have a heart. I don’t, I guess. The ones from Citarella, it turned out, were already dead and cleaned (which is a huge no-no to soft shell crab aficionados). But I didn’t know this until I got home. So I cooked ’em up with a small amount of oil after dredging them in a flour/cayenne pepper mixture. And ate. Oh Lordy! So good. I can hardly wait until I get me some more. I’ll re-blog this when I kill and cook them properly.


Incidently, I think the crabs are about 0 WW Points each before the oil/flour.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cooking from Bittman’s Pantry

Ok, so we didn't have all of the ingredients in our own pantry, but I ran downstairs to our local “supermarket” (really, it is a big bodega), watched the video, washed my hands and voilĂ . An easy, delicious dinner. Thank you, Mr. Bittman. Delicious.

We used panko instead of breadcrumbs.

p.s. We turned the extra chickpeas into a crunchy snack. A little oo, s & p, as my sister would say. And smoked paprika.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not Your Mother’s Pressure Cooker

JustAwesome recently took a pressure cooker class at the totally awesome Brooklyn Kitchen and came home super-excited and skipping. I was less excited. What’s in it for me?

She made a chickpea curry, a lentil/veggie/rice dish, some veggie stock, a risotto and best of all, a mashed potato and kale dish without all of the bad stuff. It was all yummy. And all very fast. Great lunches and sides. People have a bad reaction when you say ’Pressure Cooker’ – apparently these were scary contraptions once upon a time. Not now.

Tonight we cooked dried chickpeas, in almost no time at all. Well, some time, but not a lot of time. Then we followed the Bittman recipe for hummus using garlic from last night’s roast fest. Smeared on some rye bread from Pain D’Avignon (from the ever improving Essex Street Market). Some course salt. How delightful to have this warm. I don’t think I’ve ever had it warm before. And the bread was really excellent.

Also exciting on the Lower East Side is Seward Park Housing’s very own Hester Street Fair, which starts on April 24-25, which is being billed as Manhattan’s Brooklyn Flea. You can thank me for the Luke’s Lobster rolls when you see me. (I told them about the Fair, for my own selfish reasons.) I’ll take payment in rolls. In the meantime, I'll be eating hummus. Warm.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Home to Roast

Apologies to fans of The Feral Cook. We just haven’t done much cooking that is interesting these days. Nothing to blog home about...

I have recently “discovered” my oven. Pretty much everyday I throw a bunch of veggies (cut around the same sizes) on a pan with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. I've even been tossing in things that seem like they might not be good roasted. AND THEY ALWAYS ARE!

It isn’t easy going through a bag of carrots every week. Normally I wash, peel and cut half a bag of carrots at a time, so they don’t dry out, and slice ’em as thinly as I can, which seems to taste better. Store with a little bit of water in the container. A great midmorning snack (I eat all day!) — good alone or with some hummus. Lately I toss them on the baking sheet. Yum! They taste like carrots. Real carrots. Delicious!

Sometimes I make a batch after dinner, to eat the next day. Often I don't even add any more oil, the foil is oiled enough.

I’ve also been roasting mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes, even zucchini! I am a roasting machine. Great snack, right off the tray. Great sides. What do you roast?