A Little About Me

New York, New York
As a newly married woman, it has become my mission in life to learn how to cook. Gone are the days of picking up sushi and ordering curries. In order to jump-start my education, I enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education's Fine Cooking I course where I learned the basics, from roasting to boiling to mousse-making (ok, maybe not that basic)! I've attempted to replicate some recipes - somewhat successfully- and create a few of my own. This blog is for friends and foodies and is intended to document my cooking adventures (and occasional fiascoes). Enjoy the pictures and bon appetite!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chocolate Chip (with a hint of) Oatmeal Cookies

Our good friends, Sarina and Len, welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world last week! We thought it would be nice to bring them a home baked good which they could enjoy amidst the craziness of bringing home a newborn. My husband suggested we bring some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but the recipe I found was suffering from an identity crisis, falling somewhere between chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies. Still, I think the new parents appreciated the gesture... and my husband appreciated the leftovers!

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tap baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup quick-cooking oats
9 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and lining a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. I like to lightly spray some Pam on the foil so the cookies don't stick. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it's nice and fluffy.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to the butter.

Beat until well mixed then stir in the eggs, one at a time. After, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in a separate bowl.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter and mix until well incorporated, then add the second half and do the same.

Stir in the oats and chocolate chips. FYI... the original recipe called for a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips, but it seemed like a bit much in my opinion, so I only added 3/4 of the bag.

Scoop tbsp-sized balls onto the cookie sheet,leaving enough space between them to prevent them from fusing.

Bake for 12 minutes and then let cool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Hotcakes

You might be wondering what "hotcakes" are.... they're really just another word for pancakes, I just thought it made the post sound a little more interesting :) As I'm sure you know, it's easy to get stuck in a breakfast routine. I'm guilty of repeatedly making the same three or four dishes for my husband because they're familiar and easy. I thought homemade pancakes would be a nice break from the usual eggs and french toast and even made them healthier by banning butter, using reduced fat milk over whole fat, and swapping all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour! This recipe is really easy and if you prepare the batter and dice the fruit the night before like I did, all you have to do is grill them the next morning!

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups reduced fat or regular milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
fruit and berries, diced up

Start by stirring the dry ingredients together. Add the eggs...

followed by the milk and oil, and mix well.

Dice up whatever fruit you want in your pancakes. I used strawberries, bananas and raspberries since that's what I had in the house at the time. I probably would have added some chocolate chips too, had I had some lying around.

Heat up a pan or griddle on medium-low heat and pour some of the batter on. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup for my ideal pour. Once the batter is down, add some of the diced fruit and let sit for a couple minutes, or until you start to see bubbles form on the outer edges of the pancake. Flip and let sit another couple minutes.

Serve with syrup and sprinkle some of the extra diced fruit on top for a pretty presentation!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooking for Others

Normally, my husband is the sole beneficiary of all the hard work that goes down in our kitchen. Sunday was different, however, since we both volunteered to take part in Mitzvah (aka "good deed,") Day, using our culinary skills to help those in need. With my husband's help, FIDF, a Jewish organization benefiting the soldiers of the Israel Defense Force, was able to organize a group of young individuals to participate in the day's activities. Roughly fifteen of us donated our Sunday morning to helping prepare meals for the shelter at the Ansche Chesed Synagogue. Under the instruction of Emily Klein, who runs a culinary instruction company and volunteers at the JCC, we were able to make vegetable lasagna, Israeli salad, chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies. All in all, it was a Sunday morning well spent helping those in need.

FIDF-ers hard at work, chopping...

and chopping some more...

Men, hard at work, baking cookies...

Getting our hands dirty...

Tomatoes and cucumbers, washed and waiting to be diced, for the Israeli salad.

The finished product...

being packaged and readied for delivery.

Vegetable lasagna assembly...

Chef/Instructor, Emily Klein, slicing into the steaming, hot-out-of-the-oven lasagna

individual portions being packaged...

and, finally, dessert cooling down...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quiche, The "Right" Way

Last week I posted a recipe for a spinach quiche which turned out more like a tart after realizing I had accidentally removed the metal tin meant to support the pre-made piecrust. Well, I thought I'd give it another go and attempt a "real" quiche this time! I really loved the base I made last time so I stuck with the same recipe and swapped the spinach for sliced button mushrooms. I sauteed the mushrooms and leeks (as opposed to throwing them in raw last time) with olive oil, salt and pepper. Take a look and tell me you don't want a slice of this right now!

Sauteing the mushrooms and leeks in olive oil...

Mixing them in with the liquid ingredients...

a nice thick, eggy quiche which made a great dinner for my husband and I earlier this week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pizza in the Morning, Pizza in the Evening....

Usually, my recipes are somewhat sophisticated and contain a handful of interesting ingredients. This week, however, I was nostalgic for the pizza bagels my mom used to make us when we were little. I don't know why, but I was always so excited when she said we were making them for dinner. While not the most gourmet meal, burning the roof of my mouth on the hot cheese brought me back to my childhood and, so, I'd like to share my mom's pizza bagel recipe with all of you :)

1 bagel (I used whole wheat)
tomato sauce (I used Rao's)
mozzarella cheese
any vegetable
dried oregano
red chili pepper flakes

I probably don't need to go into too much detail with this recipe, but start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Toast your bagel in the toaster (or toaster oven) and spoon some tomato sauce over the top.

Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, oregano and the chili pepper flakes.

If you have a husband like mine who insists on there being a vegetable in every meal, top with some sort of vegetable. I sauteed a few fresh mushrooms in olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. (Even though my mom always used those yummy little canned mushrooms).

Place in the oven until the cheese melts, then broil until the cheese has turned slightly brown. Remove and LET COOL for five minutes. Trust me, these babies get really hot and you'll burn your mouth like I did if you don't wait a while!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pear, Apple and Cherry Compote

Growing up, the only dessert I ever remember my grandma actually making was a fruit compote... a traditionally Jewish dessert consisting of dried fruit in a sugary syrup. I've been craving a lot of fruit lately and thought I'd try to create an updated version of my grandma's favorite dessert (since I am not the biggest fan of dried prunes). Seeing as how the fall season means lots of beautiful apples and pears at the Farmer's Market, I opted for an apple and pear compote, studded with tangy dried cherries. Instead of only using dried fruits, I went with an assortment of fresh and dried fruits, flavored with some ginger (a flavor my grandma most likely didn't use), cinnamon and orange. The resulting compote was very flavorful and perfect to top my morning greek yogurt with!

2 bartlett pears, peeled and diced
2 Jonagold apples, peeled and diced
1 70z container dried pears
1 70z container dried apple rings
1 70z container dried cherries
1 large navel orange
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced in half

Start by peeling your apples and pears and cutting into chunks.

With a vegetable peeler, remove two long strips of orange peel and add them to a large saucepan with water, sugar, the cinnamon stick and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. While boiling, juice the orange and set aside for later use.

Gather your dried fruits.....

and add them to the saucepan and let simmer for five minutes.

Stir in the fresh apples and pears and simmer for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the fresh squeezed orange juice and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let it stand for another 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, orange peels and ginger before serving the fruit compote!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Veal Milanese

Since I haven't been feeling so well this week, I wanted something quick, hearty and delicious to make Friday night for dinner when my sister came over. My husband loves veal, especially when breaded, fried, and drowned in lemon, so I chose to go with one of his favorites -- veal milanese. I've posted a recipe for veal piccata in the past which is similar but a little more time consuming. Veal milanese cooks quickly because the scallopini slices are so thin and only requires being dipped in a few ingredients before pan frying!

4 slices veal scallopini
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper
2 lemons

Start by setting up your coating station. You will need three plates; one for the flour...

one for the beaten eggs...
and one for the bread crumbs... You'll want to season the bread crumbs with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. A little herb goes a long way in terms of flavor!

Make sure to rinse and pat dry your veal (which can be purchased in the meat department of almost any market).

Take the veal and dip it in the flour, followed by the eggs, followed by the bread crumbs.

Heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a hot skillet and fry each side for about a minute or two on each side.

Place on a paper towel to drain some of the excess olive oil.

Finally, douse the veal with fresh lemon juice and plate alongside some garlic bread, arugula salad and cherry tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and lemon. This will be a nice, easy dinner to make when you're feeling under the weather!