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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coconut Braised Sea Bass

One item I love but have never mastered has been fish. Every time I try to make it, it's disastrous... our entire apartment ends up smelling fishy and it usually tastes pretty bland!  I was excited to find a recipe for coconut braised fish which combines some of my favorite asian ingredients - coconut, soy sauce and lime - to make a really tasty dish. The sauce was killer and I love that the bass could be substituted for scallops, shrimp and other kinds of fish! The best part is that this dish takes absolutely no time to prepare but tastes like it took hours to make! I totally recommend trying this recipe if you're looking to impress a fish lover!

2 tbsp chopped mint 

2 tbsp chopped cilantro 
1 cup bean sprouts 
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
1 tbsp sugar 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
1 stalk fresh lemongrass 
2 tsp vegetable oil 
4 (4-oz) sea bass fillets, boned and skinned 
1 tbsp peeled and finely chopped ginger 
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic 
1/2 can (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk 
1/2 can (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk 
1 tbsp soy sauce 
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce 
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 large carrot, julienned 
4 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces 
2 tbsp lime

For this recipe, it makes sense to prepare/chop all your ingredientsfirst since the cooking doesn't take long. To make the topping, toss together the bean sprouts, mint and cilantro. Set aside. Also prepare the lemongrass by smashing the stalk with the side of a knife to remove the tough outer layer and release the fragrant oils. Then dice finely and set aside. 

Combine the sugar, salt and red pepper flakes and sprinkle each fillet with the mixture. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear the bass for two minutes on each side.  Move the fish to one side of the pan and add the ginger and garlic, letting them cook for a minute. 

Next, add the coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce and lemongrass followed by the vegetables.  Cook for five minutes at a fast simmer then add the lime juice.

Garnish with the bean sprout mixture and a lime wedge  and it's ready to be served! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Super Simple Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I was recently watching the Food Network and saw Nadia G preparing all the components for her fancy steak dinner.  The component that really caught my eye were the colorful roasted cherry tomatoes sitting alongside the meat. They were so simple but looked so pretty, I just had to buy some tomatoes that afternoon. What made this recipe so special was the addition of brown sugar and oregano. You can use this recipe whether you're looking for something to serve alongside a steak, toss into a salad or just eat plain... I ended up doing all! 

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, smashed
large pinch of oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp brown sugar

This recipe is so simple, just toss all the ingredients together and bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes! Yum!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Veal, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

A couple of weekends ago, my new best friend (and fellow twin parent!) Dennis, and his wonderful husband Wes, invited us and the kiddies to spend a weekend in their beautiful Connecticut home. While the days were filled with pushing babies in swings, diaper changing, toys and round the clock feeding, the nights were spent enjoying delicious wine, food and conversation. Lucky for everyone in attendance, Dennis is a trained chef and his veal, mushroom and asparagus risotto did not disappoint! While the rest of the men sat and chatted, we whipped together what was really the best risotto I have ever eaten. All in all, a wonderful and delicious weekend spent with great new friends!

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
6 oz lean veal scallops, cut into thin strips
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
10 asparagus tips
1/3 cup minced onion
3 tbsp fontina cheese, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup light cream
pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter

In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the veal, mushrooms and asparagus and sautee for  5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste before setting aside.


In a second pot, bring the broth to a steady simmer. In your third and final pot, heat 2 tbsp of butter and the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee for 2 minutes until softened. Add the rice into the pot with onions and, using a wooden spoon, stir for one minute until all the grains are well coated. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Begin adding the simmering broth to the pot of rice, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. Reserve 1/4 cup to use at the end.

After about 18 minutes when the rice is tender but still firm, add the reserved broth and veal, mushroom and asparagus mixture as well as the fontina, cream, cinnamon and parmesan. Stir vigorously to combine and serve immediately!

Here's a picture of what our final feast looked like. It was so amazing, I ended up eating two servings (even after proclaiming I don't eat carbs!)

Here's a pic of Dennis hard at work, slicing and dicing!