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...