Posts tagged appetizer
Monday, April 28, 2014

“everything bagels” gougères + marc forgione book comes out tomorrow!

"everything bagels" gougeres

So, I wrote a book. And it’s coming out tomorrow. And I don’t know what else to say about it.

In January 2012, I sat down with Marc to discuss his vision for a book he agreed to write for then Wiley (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). We had been in a conversation, on and off, for months preceding, and the ice was finally moving. I was picked out of a number of writers, and here we were, signing the contract and talking about book deadlines, which, by the way, were six months away (ha!). At the time, I was in the final stage of writing the Kimchi Cookbook manuscript. Other than my work for Melissa Clark and a yet-unpublished book, I didn’t really have a resume. I was eager. I was hungry. I wanted this book.

Never, in a million years, did I think that Marc would take a chance on an unseasoned writer like myself. And when he did, I immediately did a celebratory leap around the apartment, which was immediately followed by a complete and total meltdown.How – how?!?! – was I going to write this book?

Continue reading “everything bagels” gougères + marc forgione book comes out tomorrow!.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

pickled carrot sticks

pickled carrots sticks

Back in our old apartment, before the move, before the kitchen excavation, our fridge was always full to the gills, except most of if its contents were myriad jars of preserved and pickled things are various stages of fermentation. There was always two jars of kimchi (newly fermented and older), preserved lemons, garlic confit, sauerkraut, quick-pickled onions, a few jams, and jars of anchovies, capers, mustards and the like. When we moved, I had to use up as many of these jars as I possibly could, but inevitably, some of them were thrown out, much to my chagrin.

Then, for several months, while our kitchen was a construction site, it was pointless to have jars of any kind because we didn’t have a kitchen. If we had to make our coffee in the bathroom, there wasn’t much room for preserved goods. Besides, at the time, our refrigerator lived in the dining room.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

tomato sliders

tomato sliders

I think the only reason I would ever want there to be eternal summer is the promise of a tomato in my hand. I don’t think I can never get enough. I can have them in salads, on toast, slow-roasted, cooked into sauce, and in soup. I can also, with equal pleasure, bite into a tomato as if it were an apple and savor each ripe bite. And though, I am an autumn girl through and through, that ripe tomato cut into thick wedges, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with fleur de sel, is pretty much my idea of heaven in a meal. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about tomatoes, who might also wish for a summer if not eternal, then certainly extended. But eternal summer is clearly not here to stay, and I guess I’ll make peace with it soon enough. It’s just that I have such a hard time saying goodbye. I’m crap at it, really.

bun mise olive oil, lots of it.
drippy unbaked buns

Apparently, I’m not the only one who wants the season (or at least its produce) to last a little longer. The reason I made these tomato sliders in the first place is because Andrew spotted them in New York Times and promptly emailed me the recipe. One of the best things about dating someone who loves food as much as you do, is that they actively make suggestions and that the get it when you bolt from the couch to make impromptu ice cream. It’s not enough to eat something good, you must experience it with others. And food, as you well know, tastes much better when shared.

shhh, don't tell them they're about to get blanched nekkid!
you's about to get cored sundried
chopped

By now Andrew has heard me wax poetic about Blue Hill and the genius that is Dan Barber. And he sort of instinctively knew that these could not possibly be anything but sublime. Which they were. We could have easily made them into a dinner meal, but I was ambitious that night in the kitchen, and we had them as starters. I think we even fought over the last one – and generously decided to split it.
mascarpone and goat cheese filling
a view from above

I hope that you make these tomato sliders while there are still late summer (or early fall, come to think of it!) tomatoes at the market. Try to find the fragrant ones, heavy and fleshy – they will serve you well. The recipe looks like a handful, but really, there is nothing to it. It’s just a few steps, none of which take too long, and all of which can be made in advance. So if you’re hosting a party, these can be put together in no time. And they will, I guarantee you, steal the show. Because who can resist a miniature homemade burger bun with tomatoes, mascarpone, goat cheese inside? Exactly – no one. And if they do – clearly, that just means more left for you!

tomato sliders
tomato sliders

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

eggplant caviar

eggplant caviar

A few things first. One, my friend Tina thinks the name “eggplant caviar” is an abomination and is misleading, but that’s about the only name I know for it. Blasphemy, she said to me, do you see any caviar here? Alas, I do not. She’s, technically, in the right. So this is partially an apology to her – I don’t mean to mislead. Two, there are two schools of eggplant caviar making that I’m aware of insofar as Russian eggplant caviar making goes. Both parties cling to their version as the version, but the weirdo that is me, likes them both equally – they are quite different from one another. And like a mother to two very different children of the same origin, I cannot pick a favorite.

like little hats!

The first is the method my friends from the Ukraine have taught me – which involves baking an eggplant, removing its skin and combining it with a seductive and potent blend of pureed tomato, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper, and stirring a bit of finely minced cilantro. It is simple and addictive, and if you’re a fan of garlic, you can’t go wrong here.

halved!

The second is a bit more labor intensive, and hails, at least according to my Uzbekistan-born grandmother, from Central Asia (think former Soviet republics that end in “stan”). It involves slow cooking the eggplant with tomatoes, onion, garlic and red peppers for many hours, until the vegetables combine, disintegrate, fall apart, and grow brown. Their transformation is magical, as things go from acidic, to sweeter, more caramelized, more seductive. While it’s uncommon for brown food to be considered sexy, this dish smolders. If you think you don’t like eggplant, try this and talk to me after. I would be surprised if you didn’t reverse your stance on eggplant.

pretty from the top
looking sadder

Normally eggplant caviar is served during the “zakuski” portion of the meal. For those of you who are not Russian speakers, “zakuski” describes a spread of snacks served at Russian banquets or parties, or in my mother’s case, whenever anyone shows up at the house. Originally, the word stems from the Russian word “kusok” or “kusochik” which means, piece, or little piece. The prefix “za” denotes that you are using these little pieces, or snacks, as a follow up to a drink, a chaser, so to speak. When Russians drink vodka (which they do at most celebratory gatherings), they invariably do it in shots and follow up shots with either a pickle, slice of salami, Russian sauerkraut, a pickled mushroom or a piece of dark, rye bread with something tasty spread over it. Like this eggplant caviar. Zakuski are intense, powerful bursts of flavor designed to quell the burning of alcohol in your mouth.

sad :(
onions tomatoes
cubed peppers

But sometimes you’re not in the mood for a drink (watch the entire Russian clan disown me after this sentence), but what you want is a taste of home, because you miss the food you grew up with. And after you spy eggplant piled high at your favorite farm-stand, you greedily load your bags with the necessary ingredients and then cook the brown mess for hours while you translate your mother’s recipe from Russian, filling in instructions she takes for granted as “given”. And laughing at her description of cooked eggplant as “sad”. If you’ve ever seen a wilted, browned eggplant, you know what she means by that. But invariably, reading that makes me smile.

eggplant caviar eggplant caviar

Looks, my dears, caviar it is not. But were I to really choose between actual caviar and this, I would go for this, hands down. Especially if my mother is making it.

eggplant caviar eggplant caviar
eggplant caviar

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

chicken liver pâté

chicken liver pâté

All right, I’ll get quickly to the point here. If you are celebrating Christmas, you are probably either traveling to your celebration destination or cooking a meal and preparing for the festive holiday. This is for those of you in the kitchen who might be looking for a quick appetizer that makes you look like a three star French chef, while your guests ooh and aah, and you feign hard work and great kitchen skills – this is for you. You can thank me later, but first go and see for yourself how easy and awesome this is.

chicken livers

I will warn you now that this requires three (that’s 3!) sticks of butter which is probably why it tastes so amazing and luxurious. When I served this at book club, the ladies dove right in – a sign of great success. You can make this tonight and serve this during the cocktail hour tomorrow. When you pour the warm pâté into the dish where you will serve it, don’t worry that it might seem too liquid – it will set, I promise. If you are having a bunch of people over, it might work to chill the pâté in several small dishes that you can set around your apartment or house.

i know raw liver - EW!

Or, if you are running short on small gifts to hand out, these make perfect homemade gifts. Pour the pâté into a small jar, affix a double layer of wax paper with a piece of twine or ribbon and attach a gift tag. And in an instant you have a thoughtful and luxurious gift! An appetizer that doubles as a gift too? Now that’s holiday cooking worth spending a few minutes on!

Wishing everyone celebrating Christmas a wonderful and festive holiday!

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

honey barbecue chicken wings

ah, the wings of glory

I feel like I’ve fallen so behind in blogging about items cooked, that I’m a bit at a loss where to start. Do I go back to the last picture NOT blogged about and start in chronological order or do I reverse the order and go back in time? I certainly spend a lot of time thinking about cooking and looking up and concocting recipes, but when it comes to photo editing, discarding, uploading, tagging, naming, describing, and last, but certainly not least, trying to write up a vignette interesting enough for you to read through and not fast forward to the pictures and the recipe – I feel that I fall so far behind, it all takes up so much time, that I’m just barely getting to it all between the cooking and the cleaning and the job. And sometimes food related incidents occur when there’s NO cooking involved whatsoever. Or rather, cooking happens as an afterthought, a side note.

Take, for example, our most recent acquisition of the FoodSaver. We (meaning KS) first got wind of it while in Salem, Massachusetts while visiting friends and my parents. We ogled the shrink-wrapped buffalo wings as if it were the world’s 8th wonder before we devoured them in silence. And when KS claimed he would buy it, I mused and dismissed it as a conversation starter. It wasn’t until we were putting the item into our cart at the ever-so-claustrophobic BedBath&Beyond, that I realized we don’t just talk about buying kitchen appliances together – we actually do buy them. And you know it’s serious when a couple purchases communal kitchen appliances. KitchenAid hand mixer. FoodSaver. Wutshof knives.

So back at home, KS was off last week. And periodically, I’d ring him from work and say hello. And he’d tell me things like “Honey, I shrink wrapped the butter.”

“But wasn’t it already in a card board box?”
“Yeah, but I needed to practice on something.”
”So you picked butter?”
”Uh-huh, and it’s awesome! I’m looking for something else to practice on.”

It was nice to see him put his vacation time to such good use. And now, you should just look at him, he’s a FoodSaver pro!

So when we were thinking about other items to seal, we thought of making spicy baked buffalo wings, and marinade them overnight. This would be a prime opportunity to vacuum seal our wings for 24 hours and let them hang out in a spicy sauce sans oxygen. I’m not sure, if this is actually more effective than letting things sit in a plain Ziploc bag, but after we took the wings out and roasted them, the results was undeniably finger-licking good. We ate our wings in silence, and chased them with an English ale. It was perfection beyond words and we had an electrical contraption to thank for it. So you see, cooking this time came as a peripheral, as an afterthought. But in the end, it all worked out, so perhaps it’s for the best that way, sometimes.

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