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, September 30, 2011

A Sweet Noodle Kugel for a Sweet Year

One of my favorite dishes to eat at high holiday dinner celebrations has to be noodle kugels! I mean, who doesn't love sweet raisin-studded noodles? Anything sweet is good in my book! Since we spent the first night of Rosh Hashanah at my in-laws, I thought it only appropriate to bring something homemade for the holiday. My noodle kugel came out pretty delicious, even I was surprised. My mom suggested the addition of pineapple which I have to say made the dish even better!
1 12 oz package of egg noodles
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 lb cottage cheese
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
3/4 cup raisins
3 pineapple rings, sliced

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating up, place the noodles in salted boiling water for 4 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, butter, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. It may seem like a lot of wet ingredients, but once you bake the kugel, it won't be so wet.

Pour in the egg noodles and add the raisins and pineapple chunks.

Mix well and pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes.

You'll know the kugel is ready when the noodles on top start to brown and get crunchy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jerk Chicken

All my mother in law talks about is how much she loves a good jerk chicken. When we go to certain restaurants, she asks about it, hoping they just might have it as a special that day. Her fondness of the dish inspired me to try and make my own. After all, I do love a spicy dish and, having never had jerk chicken, was curious to see why she loved it so much. Now I know and I will definitely be making it again!

Jerk Chicken Ingredients
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 habanero chile, chopped
1 lime, juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp all spice
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to season chicken with

To make the chicken marinade, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal in a Ziploc bag. Let the breasts marinade, the longer the better.

When ready to prepare the meal, heat a grill pan on medium-high and brush with olive oil. Grill the chicken about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Ingredients for Mango Cilantro Salsa
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
salt and pepper

This slaw is really easy to make, just combine the above ingredients. Thank you, Bobby Flay, for a great recipe!

The salsa is really fruity and tropical tasting which cools your mouth after the spicy jerk chicken! I served it alongside some yellow rice and corn salad, for which you can find the recipe here. This dish was a nice break from the usual thai or Indian dishes i'm more likely to experiment with!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

I really wanted to make my husband something for dinner last week, but didn't really have hours to spend shopping and prepping since the babies went to sleep on the later side. I decided to whip up some chicken parmesan using a bunch of ingredients I already had sitting around the house. Cheese wasn't a problem.... I always have a variety sitting in my fridge. Tomato sauce..... always keep some cans of San Marzano in my cupboard. Chicken... usually have a breast or two sitting in my freezer for rainy days! I served the chicken with a light salad and some avocado to give the meal a "healthier" component (per my husband's request).

3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
3 pieces of mozzarella string cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tbsp olive oil

Start by creating your "chicken coating" station. You'll need three separate stations. For the first, measure out the whole wheat flour. For the second, beat the eggs in a bowl. For the third, combine the panko bread crumbs with the parsley and some salt and pepper.

Wash your chicken breasts, then dunk in the flour, followed by the egg wash. Lastly, give it a nice panko coating and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown each chicken side for 3-5 minutes over medium heat.

Top the cooked chicken breasts with the tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees, or until the cheese is completely melted and a little brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with some healthy greens and enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's in your lunch box?

Lately, my husband's been SWAMPED at work! So swamped, in fact, that he often can't find the time to sit down for lunch until 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon! Being the good wife that I am, I've begun to make sure I send him off to work every day with a nice sandwich to enjoy at his desk. One creation he particularly enjoyed was a basil, mozzarella and tomato sandwich on a ciabatta roll with homemade pesto. I took a walk to Chelsea Market one afternoon to buy all the ingredients... the roll from Amy's Bread, the farm fresh Mozzarella from Lucy's Whey..... it was a fun sandwich to shop for and assemble!

1 large ciabatta roll
fresh mozzarella
salt and pepper
homemade basil pesto (recipe here - just substitute arugula for basil)

Start by slicing your bread in half

Spread a good amount of the pesto on each side of bread.

Layer on slices of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Top with slices of tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Top with a handful of fresh basil leaves. Make sure you wash them first since they often still have dirt on them.

Assemble sandwich, slice down the middle and wrap in aluminum foil to hold it all together. I packed the lunch together with a Red Velvet Cupcake for what I'm pretty sure was the best lunch my husband's ever had at his desk!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

My husband and I looooooove Thai food. Although we order it often, I haven't really tried making it myself too often. I guess I always thought it was the type of food best left to professionals.... I guess I was wrong! I was recently in the mood for something coconut-y and thought I'd try my hand at a coconut curry instead of picking up the phone for delivery again. I opted for shrimp instead of chicken since I don't cook with shrimp that often. The result was really tasty and some chopped cilantro gave the dish some nice freshness!

4 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb shrimp
6 oz coconut milk
2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp canola oil

Start by heating the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and red curry paste and sautee for about two minutes.

Add the shrimp, garlic and some salt to season and cook it all together for about three minutes. You'll want to flip the shrimp halfway through to let both sides cook. Tongs are great for this task! Lastly, add the coconut milk and fish sauce and mix well. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Mix in half the cilantro and then sprinkle the remaining half on later.

I chose to serve this over a bed of coconut rice, which I made by cooking the rice in a combination of water and leftover coconut milk. The dish is not only delicious, but really quick to make since shrimp cooks quickly!