Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quick Dish - Quick Post: Swordfish on Flavor Filled Corn

A very simple dish which I made this summer was grilled swordfish on a bed of corn peaches and sage.  The brevity of the post reflects the speed of the dish (I made it so fast, we didn't get in any pictures!)

All I did was rub the fish with some salt and pepper, and grill it for about 7 minutes a side until the flesh bounced back to the touch. For the corn salad, I halved and peeled a peach and grilled it alongside the corn, which I had shucked and rubbed with olive oil. Once they were cooked, I cut the kernels off of the cob, chopped up the peach, and finely chopped some sage. I mixed the three with a little salt and pepper and served the fish on top. In total the meal took about 20 minutes to make, and the flavors were bold and unexpected! Highly recommended for a quick dinner that will impress.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grilled Peaches and Pork

No matter the season, a grill brings out the best flavors in ingredients. Whether meat or vegetable or even fruit, putting food on the grill creates a unique smoky and charred flavor that can't be truly replicated indoors. For this dish, I married sweet, caramelized peaches with rich smoky pork to create a sweet and savory blend of flavors the exemplified why grilling is such a good method of cooking. Along with some grilled corn and a fresh fennel, orange, and arugula salad this meal was a grilled summer classic.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lasagna: Revamped for Summer

One normally thinks of lasagna as a warm, hearty winter meal. Usually made with a tomato sauce, loaded with meat, cheese, a good lasagna can warm you even on the coldest nights. I decided to throw this common expectation of lasagna on its head, and make a fresh summer lasagna, featuring veggies and herbs associated with the warm summertime.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grilled Whole Trout with Orzo Salad and Spinach

As I always say, the best method of cooking in the summertime is grilling. In the summer, the produce is plentiful, the fish is fresh, and grilling is the best way to feature simple, delicious flavors in a beautiful way. I was on Martha's Vineyard for this meal, and we picked up some fresh whole trout, tomatoes, fennel, and spinach. All healthy, fresh ingredients that have bold flavors which don't need much else to shine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Buffalo Steak Salad

Sometimes a simple salad can be a beautiful, elegant, and delicious meal that's both hearty and satisfying. In the summer months, people rarely want to sweat away in the kitchen, and this dish has minimal cooking time with great results. Mixing bright summer vegetables with lean steak and nutty parmesan makes for a tasty mix of flavors that combine for the right balance that's healthy and satisfying.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brussel Sprout Carbonara


Brussel sprouts and bacon... Are you lovers from opposite families, a la Romeo and Juliet? Are you unlikely partners like Starsky and Hutch, one straight laced, one a little wild, but both focused on getting the job done? Are you soul mates, destined to be together no matter the obstacle? Whatever you are, you work beautifully together! A simple Italian dish that relies heavily on the inclusion of bacon is pasta carbonara. I decided to bring in bacon's old friend brussel sprouts into this classic dish to make for a fun twist on a classic dish. The result was a colorful and flavorful pasta dish that was as fun to make as it was to eat.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nori Wrapped Tuna

Nori, the seaweed used to wrap sushi rolls, is generally thought to be a one trick pony, if it's even thought of at all. People generally come across it as an addition to a sushi and ramen, but beyond that, one rarely sees use for it. I had bought a package of nori sheets to make sushi awhile back, and after reading a post about a nori crusted steak on Rooftop Gourmet I decided to use it with some fresh tuna steaks. It's surprisingly tasty on it's own. It has a very subtle salty flavor and has a lot of vitamins and other dietary benefits, so it makes for an interesting and healthy addition to a meal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Burritos

I've recently been very into chicken and spinach burritos from this tiny hole in the wall Mexican place in the East Village called Downtown Bakery on 1st Ave. It's a very simple burrito, but for some reason it's the perfect balance of healthy and unhealthy that you want from a burrito. Because much of recipe inspiration comes from what I eat out, I decided to make my own take on the chicken and spinach burrito.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops

One of the more versatile and flavorful sauces that you can make is pesto. Pesto is an italian sauce used on pasta, sandwiches, meats, fish, hors d'oeuvres, and anything else you can think of. Classic pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts as the main components, but you can use any herbs or greens you like such as cilantro, parsley, arugula, or even kale along with any type of nut. I've made pistachio cilantro and arugula and almond pestos, and any variation you make will have a different personality depending on which components you use. For a healthy pasta dish, I decided to make a basil pine nut AND walnut pesto (I know, I'm a wild man...) with roasted vegetables and seared scallops.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Veal Chops and Purple Potatoes

If you are ever looking for a rich, impressive meal that's a little off the normal menu, you should pick up some veal chops and purple potatoes. Veal is a very tender beef, that, while a controversial subject in the animal rights circles, is always delicious. The most common cuts of veal are thin cutlets used in scallopine or parmesan, but the cut I enjoy most is a thick veal chop. A veal chop lies somewhere between a pork chop and a steak on the flavor and tenderness scale. It's also a very lean meat, so it's healthier than having a heavy steak. When cooked well, the veal has a softer taste than a rich steak, and is much more tender and juicy than most pork chops. For this dish, I paired 2 thick cut veal chops with a red wine braised mushroom and celery sauce and some mashed purple potatoes. Purple potatoes are a beautiful heirloom variety of potato that is much healthier than normal white fleshed potatoes because of their high level of antioxidants. They are also visually striking and make for a very unexpected side to a dish.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tilapia Bahn Mi

Most people think of a sandwich as an American staple. Whether a classic ham and cheese or tuna melt, or something more involved like a meatball sub or Italian hoagie (sub, hoagie, grinder, sandwich, whatever else you want to call it) the sandwich is considered standard American fare. Where this concept of patriotic sandwichism is thrown on it's head is on the menus of Vietnamese restaurants. One of my favorite dishes in Vietnamese cooking is the Bahn Mi (which comes at a close second to Pho soup, but I'll cover that at another time). A bahn mi sandwich is traditionally made with ground pork and pate and an assortment of vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, and radish served on a warm, crispy french baguette. I've seen variations on the sandwich that have beef, chicken, fish, or tofu, but the flavors are usually in the same family with spicy chili sauce and peppers, crisp veggies, and salty meat. For dinner recently, I wanted to make my own simple, healthy take on the bahn mi, so I bought some fresh tilapia along with the standard bahn mi vegetables.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lend Me Your Ears... With Some Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

I always say that broccoli rabe is a very controversial vegetable. Many people don't like the bitterness of rabe and people are often scared away from cooking it because they don't know how to get the right flavor from it. The key to perfecting broccoli rabe, I learned from my girlfriend, is a little bit of sugar. For whatever reason, sugar creates the perfect sweet balance to the bitter green and makes it a lot friendlier and less intimidating. Other elements that will remove bitterness are sausage and ricotta. A classic Italian dish is orecchiette with sausage, broccoli, rabe, and ricotta. Orecchiette literally means small ear as it is a pasta that resembles the shape of an ear. What is nice about using this type of pasta in this dish is that the orecchiette act as little bowls that hold the ricotta and sausage, making each bite complete and full of all flavors of the dish. The result is a creamy, salty, rich dish that is surprisingly easy to make. The version I made was beautiful and satisfying with a nice balance of sweet and salt with a bit of spice and creaminess to top it off.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spicy Quick Pickles

I am a huge fan of pickled goods. Whether green beans or beets, okra or cauliflower, I love the briny bite and sweet and salty mixture. The king of all pickles is of course the cucumber. The perfect sandwich accompaniment or topping. A nice briny flavor to cut into the saltiness of chips and the flavors in any type of sandwich (other than maybe a PB&J). I've made pickles a couple times before, but I was preparing some sides for a pulled pork sandwich, and I wanted to make a quick cucumber pickle with some spice as a side/topping for the pulled pork. The difference between a quick pickle and a fermented pickle is the canning and resting process. For a quick pickle, you make the brine, pour the hot brine over the cukes and then let them sit for a couple hours. Voila! Pickle! For a fermented pickle, you make the brine, let it cool, pour it over the cukes in a jar and seal it. The pickles then rest for 4 to 6 weeks until they've fermented. These take a lot more time and work. For more info on pickling, check out this site. The pickles I made were spicy and delicious. I did a classic pickle brine and added a habanero pepper for some heat. They had a great balance of vinegar sugar and salt, and the habanero made them stand out when eaten with the pulled pork. This recipe is very easy, and very successful, so if you want to dive into the pickle game, I would start here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pork and Potatoes Meet at the Apple

For the main course of my recent dinner party (for the appetizer click here) I made a dish that would confuse a nice Jewish boy. I took two of my favorite dishes, pork loin and potato latkes and brought them together on one glorious plate. The irony of the dish is that both pork and potato pancakes are perfect for each other. The standard accompaniment for both pork and latkes is apple sauce, so what I did was bring the potatoes and pork together with a layer of homemade apple sauce. To top the pork, I made some caramelized onions and for some flavor and color, I made some sauteed green beans. The meal was spectacular. The pork was extremely moist, and the flavors in the apple sauce blended perfectly between the pork and potatoes. The green beans provided a bright visual and gustatory break in the meal against the rich, warm flavors of the pork and potatoes. This would be a perfect meal for a romantic, home cooked Valentine's day dinner.

Creamy Tomato Soup

I remember when I was at sleep away camp, way back in the day, and when the lunch bugle sounded (yes, we had bugle calls for wake up, meals, activities, and taps for bedtime) we would all go running, hoping it was grilled cheese and tomato soup day. The soup we ate was probably Campbell's tomato soup or something like it, but it was delicious and we loved it every time it was on the menu. For a dinner party recently, I wanted to concoct a refined version of tomato soup for the starter course. I went with a roasted tomato and garlic soup with parmesan croutons. I wanted the soup to be creamy and rich, and the croutons to bring back the memories of the classic grilled cheese accompaniment, an elegant take on a lunchtime classic.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower has long been an under appreciated vegetable. Less known than it's green cousin, broccoli, cauliflower has a milder taste, and works very well with a wide variety of tasty toppings. As a side or an app, cauliflower can shine in many different ways. For this dish, I made a roasted cauliflower with gremolata, an herb topping.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The Canadians don't get a ton of credit in this world, but one thing that they've blessed the world with is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer or the mysterious Noblitzer Prize for really unhealthy food. The dish worthy of this high praise is... drumroll... Poutine! French fries, cheese, and gravy, mixed together for a delicious, unholy, amalgamation of awesome. I've had poutine more times than I probably should have (which is only about 3 or 4... it's really not good for you), but I was curious to see if a homemade version would live up to the tasty hype of the famed French Canadian dish. It did. It really, really did. The salty potatoes were perfect with the rich gravy, and the gooey cheese was the perfect flavor and texture to bring it all together. Make this dish, you will be happy you did (until you weigh yourself).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eggplant Bruschetta

I am a big fan of eggplant. It's a really beautiful, interesting, and versatile vegetable. Eggplant can be fries, breaded cutlets, dips, sides, main courses, and even bruschetta. It melds well with all types of cuisines and flavor profiles as well, but for this dish, I wanted to do a play on an appetizer classic, tomato bruschetta.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spicy Asian Wings

Oh wings. I love chicken wings, whether buffalo or bbq, fried, smoked, or grilled. For some reason, chicken wings are the perfect football snack. They're filling, but somehow you can eat them gluttonously. They're spicy, but they never overwhelm you. Wings are the mysterious chicken dish that are appropriate for every occasion and can be prepared in many different ways. A ubiquitous snack, perfect for an American pastime.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Healthy and Inspired Breakfast

Inspiration for a good meal can come from anywhere. I will often look at recipes or menus to get ideas for the things I cook. Sometimes I will just come up with something out of the blue or figure out a meal from a conversation with someone about cooking. One of my favorite sources of inspiration for meals is when I eat something at a restaurant that I enjoy and then try to recreate it in my kitchen. In the East Village, there is a restaurant called Northern Spy Food Co. It's a small rustic space with a fresh and imaginative American menu. I've eaten there a number of times, and I'm particularly partial to their brunch. They have one dish that is a kale salad with squash, cheddar, and eggs. I love kale, and this salad always catches my eye. I decided to do a take on a kale salad with eggs for breakfast, inspired by the dish at Northern Spy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crispy Thai Fish with Vegetables over Noodles

Asian flavors are beautiful to cook with. They mix a balance of sweet and spicy, tangy and tart. With this dish, I was trying to capture the interesting blends of Asian style cooking and use a lot of vegetables for a healthy dish that is out of the ordinary. The dish had four components, crispy tilefish (a mild whitefish that is similar to snapper), stir fried eggplant and mixed mushrooms, cabbage and carrot udon noodles, and fried shishito peppers. While this sounds like a lot to prepare, the dish didn't take too long, and the result was a tasty dish with a lot of personality.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Years Rib Roast

When cooking for a big crowd, sometimes you want to make something that's low maintenance so that you're not spending all night in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun. This past New Years, I wanted to create a meal that was hearty, festive, and delicious, without keeping me confined in the kitchen all night long. I decided on making a rib roast with potato and celery root puree and roasted bacon brussel sprouts. This meal is a classic large party menu with a lot of flavor, but is simple enough to keep even picky eaters happy.

Pasta for a Crowd with Homemade Meatballs and Sauce

This New Years Eve, my friends and I rented a house for the weekend. I was in charge of cooking, and everyone was arriving at different times, so I wanted to make something that could be prepared ahead and be served whenever the group was ready. I decided on homemade meatballs and tomato sauce over spaghetti as it appeals to anyone and is easy enough to make in large quantities that increasing the amount you make doesn't create a hassle.  I added some garlic bread and a nice salad, and we had a great meal for a crowd.