Sunday, November 20, 2011

We Scream for Tissues

This is the most beautiful box of tissues I have ever seen in my whole life. Although not eco-friendly or super-soft, I knew JustAwesome* needed to have these.

Upon seeing them JA said, “Whoa!”

In a conference room at Kleenex headquarters, someone said, “Everyone loves ice cream.” Someone else must’ve chimed in, “YES! Dairy and phlegm.” The intern said, “let’s make it triangular, like an upside-down ice cream cone!”

Bless these thinkers. I love seeing this box of tissues in the house. It makes me smile and reminds me that just because something is really, really stupid, doesn’t mean it isn’t totally awesome and beautiful.

*Your Feral leader uses these. Because she loves the planet and they’re super soft.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baking with Dorie

Lenox Almond Biscotti

Big fans of Dorie Greenspan, it was pretty much a no-brainer when we got our iPad that we’d get the Baking with Dorie app. To be completely honest, I knew I wanted an iPad because they’re sleek and shiny but I had no clue of what to do with one. I was essentially using it like a giant iPhone. This app makes sense. As my dad would say, “Azoy*!”

You can make notes to the recipe, add ingredients to your shopping list, make it a favorite. It is clear and easy to follow, plus there are instructional videos throughout. It is like having Dorie in the kitchen with you. And the biscotti was delicious! Just the right amount of salty.

The app costs $7.99, comes with 20+ recipes and 100+ videos.

Anxiously awaiting the Lucky Peach iPad app. I loved the first issue but it was, um, print. How yesteryear. (Beautifully designed print, I thought. And on my favorite topic! RAMEN!)

What other apps are worthwhile?

*That’s how it goes!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

JA, Your dinner is ready!

There is a possibility that I have made the ugliest soup in the world. And, I doubled the recipe so that we can have a lifetime supply of it. Some Feral readers might beg to differ. This looked pretty ugly. This too.

I have the last laugh though: when I plan out my meals, I lose weight. And what can be bad? Its a green lentil soup with curried brown butter, coconut milk (and coconut oil!!) and chives. Yum!! I hope JA likes it. (I’m going out tonight. Tomorrow’s lunch).

Green Curry Lentil Soup
with curried brown butter, and chives

Drizzle top with brown butter curry and chives—it’ll
help it not be so ugly. Eat with baguette. Drink beer.
And don’t forget to have a salad.

Beer. Brown butter curry. Chives.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No Posts. And a cheese tour.

Yes, we’ve been cooking A LOT at the Feral household. So why no posts? Because they all come from the same freakin’ cookbook. I feel like a jerk. I ain’t no freakin’ cheerleader. Ugh. To date I think we’ve made 20 recipes from the bookwhichwon’tbenamed. All pretty great. That’s enough.

This was last night (and today’s lunch). Miso-Curry Delicata Squash with tofu, potato, kale, cilantro & toasted pepita seeds. Warm and delicious. The pepitas add a nice crunch. Definitely adding to the rotation.

Maybe I should tell you about our mini cheese tour of Vermont. The best stop was Cato Corner Farm (in Connecticut on the way up to Vermont). But they were out of Hooligan, my favorite of their cheeses. Was there anything we found in CT/VT that we couldn’t get from Saxelby Cheese at the Essex Street Market? No, not really. But she doesn’t have animals in her stall. Or fresh air. Maybe we should take a field trip to her cheese cave in Red Hook. Who wants to go?

We also got apples and caramel and syrups and jellies. Mmmmm!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Comfort Food

I had a rotten day and I want comfort food. I want something creamy and warm. And plentiful. But I am trying to drop a few pounds and I swore to myself I wouldn’t be decadent on Tuesdays for a few weeks...

This is my favorite dish in the world right now. It is total comfort food. It is totally decadent. And guess what? Totally freakin’ healthy!

All of her dishes sound kind of disgusting. Official title: Black Pepper Tempeh (cauliflower rice*, garlic, ginger, natural cane sugar). Trust me, it is sooo good. Cauliflower, tempeh and coconut oil cooked with 15 cloves of garlic. Not 14, not 16. It is tempting to use a different amount but I’m afraid to change a thing.**

Except my mood.

Take that, Rotten Tuesday!

*The rice just refers to the size which you chop it. I like my chunks larger. **For some reason I second-guessed myself and did not include all of the cauliflower in the head. Big mistake. It threw off the balance of salty to sweet. But still delicious.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reason #1473

Why I love working from home:


I don’t really have much to say. Just checking in to keep my Feral fans happy... In terms of learning to cook, honestly, this might be the second time in my life I’ve ever made bacon. I should really eat more meat. Sounds like a great resolution!

And, we are gearing up for pizza season at the Feral Casa. Very exciting!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene Hits the LES!

Mayor Mike (el alcalde) told us to stay indoors all day on Sunday. We took this very seriously.

This is what happened to our tree.

Pasta and Sauce. The perfect storm.

Frankies’ Sunday Sauce

All kidding aside, we hope everyone is safe and sound.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dessert Cocktails!

I made my favorite summer cocktail, an Americano, and froze it. You can see the orange peel! It was tasty, though I think it is WAY more relaxing to sip while sitting on the couch, than lick while standing in the kitchen...


These were delicious. Moist and chocolate-y.
What a great way to use up some plentiful Z!
(And no, you don’t taste the zucchini.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zucchini Linguini

I am always surprised when people don’t like particular foods. Tomatoes? Berries? What???

Food is delicious! It is the reason I wake up in the morning—it shapes my day. There is not a lot food that I don’t like, and even then, I’ll still eat those things... I am starting to think that maybe people taste food differently. If I had to choose my LEAST FAVORITE vegetable, I’d probably say zucchini or squash. I always found it to be really bitter. And, of course, it is so abundant in the summer—I can’t avoid it.

So, what’s changed? Well, I have noticed as I eat zucchini with more frequency that it is getting less and less bitter and more and more sweet. Has it? Or have my taste buds changed? Or maybe the idea of what I think it tastes like has changed. Or maybe it is because we’ve been preparing it differently? A different texture equals a different taste sensation? I don’t know, but I am beginning to like zucchini. There. I said it.

Last night we grated it and cooked it in oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and whatnots as per Heidi Swanson’s Summer Linguini recipe in THE BOOK. How did it taste? Not bitter at all! Good enough that I begged for seconds. Delicious with some nice red wine, salad with Lazy Girl Dressing, and some homemade blueberry ice cream. Life is sweet. Not bitter at all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sparkling Panakam at Sparky’s House

JustAwesome is a genius. Or, maybe Heidi Swanson is. Anyway, at a recent barbecue on our friend, Sparky Rudy’s* ginormous patio, JA came armed with a pre-mixed mocktail to drink after we had a cocktail or two, before we moved on to beer or wine. You know, so we wouldn’t overdo it.

Sparkling Panakam: Ginger, cardamom, lime juice, sugar, salt and sparkling water. And lotsa ice. It is almost like a ginger beer.

Sparky said, “I like this drink. A lot.”

*Name has been changed to protect Sparky’s ginormous patio from interlopers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Riddle Me Easy!!

QUESTION: What do you get when you take a bunch of CSA tomatoes, garlic*, cucumbers and onions and toss them into a food processor with some oil and whatnots?

ANSWER: Tons of delicious gazpacho with not a ton of dishes to wash! YAY!!!

I love tomato season! Gazpacho is so refreshing—splash a small amount of “the good olive oil” on top to garnish and voilá—a great lunch, a great dinner, a great snack, a great side. Effin’ great. In truth, I prefer my gazpacho a bit chunkier but I couldn’t remember how I used to make it so I used an old Bittmann recipe** that called for stale bread, which we had and I hadn’t ever done before...

And I used the food processor. All by myself!! I’d guestimate this as one PointsPlus value treat for my Weight Watchers buddies.

*Farm garlic might be one of my favorite things on this planet.
**I added onion and red pepper, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Found It!!

Well, close enough...

I have long been looking for something homemade-ish (
read: that might not have a ton of ingredients in it) to replace the Korean Red Pepper paste that I adore in stir-fries, wraps and veggie bowls. Besides the fact that the paste comes in a ginormous tub that takes up WAY too much real estate in the fridge, I have always worried about what might be in it...

Imagine my delight one sunny afternoon in Carroll Gardens to find two Korean women selling this barbecue sauce outside of a deli. While it is very different from the red pepper paste, I can swap it easily. The barbecue sauce, as you probably know, is a little sweeter and less spicy, but oh, so delish!

Question for my Brooklyn friends: anyone know which deli? On Court? On Smith? I have no idea why they’re not selling this at Hester Street Flea, Brooklyn Flea (Smorgasburg), New Amsterdam Market, or even Whole Foods.

This is what I made for lunch today. If it was dinner, I might’ve added some udon noodles. Mmmm.

Squid and Onions in BBQ Sauce

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(Not so Simple) Summer Salad Suppers

Arugula and Beet Salad with
Watermelon, Feta and Sauteed Shrimp

I consider myself a purist. I don’t know if that is because I am lazy or because I just have simple tastes, but I believe in good ingredients and very few of them. Most of time I don’t do much more than olive oil, salt & pepper. On everything: fish, meat, vegetables. Everything. Of course, there are several types of oils, several types of salts and even several types of pepper. But not much else. Maybe some fresh herbs. Simple.

I took a class last night at the Natural Gourmet Institute (Thanks D&B!) called Summer Salad Suppers (Myra Kornfeld) which was the opposite of simple. The salads were complicated to make, but really just a series of simple steps. I never would’ve put these tastes together: Beets, Carmelized Nuts, Pickled Red Onions, Sauteed Shrimp, but soooo beautiful, soooo tasty, and soooo filling.

It was pretty simple to eat. Hmm, maybe I’m evolving.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lazy Girl Salad Dressing

I’ve mentioned this dressing lotsa times. I make it often. Sometimes several times a week. It first came to me as a comment from a reader/friend and it has changed my life. Usually I just have on greens with some tomatoes. Couldn’t be simpler.

Good olive oil (I like Frankie’s or Segreto)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


If I have one major envy/regret in my life, it is that I can not grill. I live in NYC, no terrace. And I really love barbecue. Mostly veggies (and fruits!), maybe some steak. And that regret has me looking at real estate sometimes. Ok, lots.

We made these (above) on our friend’s giant patio in Brooklyn. The top is a grilled caesar salad. Yes, grilled iceberg lettuce. So refreshing and exciting. Homemade croutons. Dressing from the Frankie’s cookbook. Dessert was pineapple and apricots. Mmmgrilledpineapple. My new favorite dessert. (Nice grill markings, SR!! When can we do it again?)

These (above) we made on our rainy weekend at Solid Sound. The festival was challenging because of the weather, but we made a few nice barbecues. Though, sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen...

These (below) I made at home, in NYC, on a grill pan. Not the same as barbecuing but the best I can do.
Weird with the grapefruit-campari sorbet though.

Sandwich Salad

Panzanella (blurry with excitement!)

Ok, it’s true. This blog is supposed to be about me learning how to cook. Thing is, I am cooking some but I make a lot of repeat, boring dinners—which I love—but I don’t think they are very interesting. And my food is usually kind of ugly. I’m just not there yet... But I am getting more confident in the kitchen. I’m sure I’m learning something.

And on the flip side, JustAwesome gets really excited about what she wants to make, always trying new things—reading new blogs, buying new cookbooks. So I post her stuff...

I’ve mentioned the new Heidi Swanson book a few times recently. By now, I think “we’ve” tried about 9 recipes and all have been really unusual, simple and delicious. I should mention that we had her first book and only made a few things because the recipes were too involved and had too many complicated ingredients (for us). The second book is AMAZING. I’d (almost) be willing to bet you $15.64 that you’ll love it, but I won’t, because I don’t have extra money to bet.

Last night JA made Panzanella which is a grilled bread (multi-grain pullman from Pain D’avignon) and tofu salad with oven-roasted tomatoes and peanut butter. Sounds crazy, right? All of her recipes kind of do but at this point we’ll try any (and all!) of them. This book has not been wrong. This tasted like a sandwich and a salad. The tomatoes were sweet from the oven and went great with the peanut butter sauce. I’d venture to say that besides the oven being on to roast the tomatoes, this was a pretty exceptional summer dinner.

And we chased it with two cold treats: a mocha sherbert and a peach sorbet. (Merci beaucoup, David Lebovitz.) What is the difference between sherbert and sorbet? I don’t know. (I didn’t even think sherbert was a real thing.)

What have I learned recently? Let me ask JA...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Millet Muffins

What you may know is that JustAwesome is British. What you may not know is that JA is a baked goods fiend. How this translates? She is constantly on a quest to find baked goods which are not too sweet, borderline-savory. I introduce to you: Millet Muffins.

I was skeptical.

I’d probably compare them to cornbread, but the raw millet makes the texture really interesting. Almost like there are little bits of candy in each muffin. Not a bad start to my mornings...

The recipe is now one of seven or eight recipes that we’ve tried from this cookbook. Excited to try more!! Jolly good!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yes, We Can!

Something beyond exciting is happening in beer this summer. I don’t know why, but within the last month or so, two of my favorite local craft beers are being sold in cans.


Cans are easier to stack in the fridge.
Cans make the beers colder.

Perfect summer drinking!

Others I like:

Session Beers (these aren’t in cans but cute little 11oz bottles)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I love weekend!

JustAwesome has only owned this cookbook for less than 18 hours (and slept for 8 of the them) and has made 2 recipes already. I think it is going to be a great summer...

I came home last night to a popcorn with mustard, thyme, chives and butter because she thought it’d go well with the cocktails (with rhubarb bitters) she was a fixin.’ And I woke up this morning to a gorgeous dish of Baked Oatmeal, which has blueberries, peaches (the fruits can be flex), nuts and whoknowswhat.

Went great with my Longo Latte.

If you don’t regularly read this blog, you should.

My life is the best! Oh happy day! Winning!!

Baked Oatmeal

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pasta Primavera: The Remix

Today’s NYT magazine has 8 recipes by Bittman for pasta primavera. I’m not usually very excited by pasta primavera, which means “springtime pasta”, but once I saw that JustAwesome had picked up some fresh pappardella from Piemonte Ravioli, I was quickly on board!

What I typically don’t like about it at restaurants is that it is usually too many disparate veggies, none of which I’m very interested in. And it always seems soggy and tasteless. Bittman simplifies it and adds a little kick.

Pappardella with peas, pecorino, chili and mint.
Soooo good. Clean and simple.

I hope it is springtime long enough to try the other 7 recipes. Fortunately, we have enough for leftovers tonight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yeah, it's that time of year again. Consider this a PSA, since it is such a short season. So delicious. 3 will set you back $6.00 right now. Worth every cent. Good thing I live so close to Chinatown.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Riding the Love Grain

I am not a very healthy eater. Inherently. Clue number one is that I probably wouldn’t just be learning how to cook now. I always thought my bent was a rebellion of sorts against my alfalfa-sprout-and-rice-cake childhood. Potato chips and beer for dinner. Mac and cheese. Chow fun.

But the truth is... I love grains. I love quinoa, farro, millet, bulgur, barley, buckwheat, whatever. Anything earthy. Love them. Prefer them.

Same thing with pasta. I love whole wheat pasta. I hear about people choking it down, trying to suffer through it. I don’t understand it. I love it. I prefer it. So maybe I am inherently healthy! Maybe I just don’t know it!

Tonight we made a large batch of Berley’s Quinoa Salad with sunflower seeds and hiziki (with a lime vinaigrette). Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Corn, red onion (which he has you steam with the corn!), bell pepper, carrot, hiziki and radish (though we used edamame instead) and it was sooooo good. Really. Soooooo good. Swap this veg for that. This grain for that. A lot of prep work but sooooo worth it.

This salad has micro and macronutrients—whateverthoseare. Lotsa colors, which is important. Dunno, I think it is beautiful. It might end up being high in PointsPlus values (about 11?), but it fills me up. Tasty and filling. I always end up losing weight on the weeks we make these types of salads for lunches. And I need a little help this week after so much Easter candy this weekend.

I just can’t wait to eat it again. I love it. Prefer it.