Apple and Cranberry Crisp

crisp

I love apples, but I really do not know why I bother buying them in the Spring. The apples are left from the Fall and are really hit or miss. They seem to turn quickly. To counteract this, I decided to make an apple crisp to go along with some delicious Blue Marble ice cream.

Apple crisps with oats don’t do it for me, so I search for some different recipes that didn’t use them. What I came up with is basically apples coated in cinnamon and sugar with a layer of brown sugar, butter and flour on top. I even used a little ginger powder and dried cranberries. What came out was gooey delicious apples with a crunchy sugary topping.

Ingredients:

4 apples – peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each, Slice each wedge in half the short way
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 stick butter, slightly softened and cut into small bits.
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple juice (optional)

Heat oven to 350, with rack in middle of oven.

In small bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and ginger. Mix with a fork, or alternatively use food processor, until well combined.

In an 8×8 or 9×9 shallow baking dish, add apples, apple juice, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well to combine. Toss with half the cranberries. You want apples to fill entire pan, as they will shrink some. Top apples with topping mixture and remaining cranberries.

Cook for about 30 minutes, until top is crisp and apples are soft. Enjoy with ice cream, whipped cream, or just on its own.

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Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Dried Cranberries and Pine Nuts

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Yes, in case everyone was wondering, this is still a blog with new posts. It has been quite a while, but with upcoming arrival of the baby Carnivore (or vegetarian), things have been hectic. I have still been making and eating nice meals, but now I’ll finally get a chance to tell you about one of them.

Over the past 3 or 4 months, I have seen a lot of restaurants offer cauliflower side dishes that have had some sort of dried fruit, a nut, usually pine, and some delicious vinaigrette. The key to all of this is the roasted, charred, cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower is one of my favorites, and while I usually roast them whole, it takes a while…and sometimes you just want to eat faster.

Here, I roast the cauliflower broken up in a pan, toss it with pasta, dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, sherry vinegar, oil and goat ricotta cheese. You get a creamy texture from the cheese and a bite from everything else. Yes, this is starchy, but damn if it’s good anyway.

Ingredients:
Loosely based on Serious Eats
Serves 2

1 head cauliflower, stem removed, broken up into large florets
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil divided
1/4 cup ricotta (goat or cow)
1/4 cup pine nuts – toasted
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup dried cranberries
6 oz penne or similar pasta

Heat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and add to a lined sheet tray or oven safe pan. Shake cauliflower around every 10 minutes or so. Roast for about 20-25 minutes until browned and softened.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil and cook pasta. While pasta and cauliflower are cooking, mix remaining oil, vinegar, cranberries and toasted pine nuts* and a little salt and pepper.

*to toast, add to a small, dry skillet and cook on medium for about 5-7 minutes.

When pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, and drain. Add back to pot with cheese, cauliflower, vinaigrette and a little pasta water if necessary. Toss to coat and serve!

Posted in Cauliflower, cheese, main course, nuts, pasta | Leave a comment

Frying Pan Lasagna with Mushrooms and Eggplant

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I’m not sure what compelled me to make a lasagna in a large 3.5 quart pan, but I have seen a recent influx if single portion lasagnettes and thought, “why not make one of these, but in a pan.”

I used fresh lasagna sheets from the store, but you could probably use the other boil ahead sheets. I don’t know if the no-boil sheets would work here, unless you went really heavy with the sauce. This one was with a béchamel sauce, mushrooms and roasted eggplant. You could easily add even more veggies like red peppers and zucchini. I opted for no tomato (sauce), my preference for lasagna.

If you have a big 10″ skillet, that’s at least an inch deep, you’ll be fine making it in the pan. If you’d prefer to just use a lasagna pan or round, shallow casserole dish, that’s fine too. Don’t feel tied to the frying pan. I simply dirtied one less pan and wanted to do something different.

Serves  2-4 as main dish.

Béchamel:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

For Lasagna

1/2 – 3/4 lbs mushrooms, sliced, mix variety
2 baby eggplant, sliced about 1/4″ thick
olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 fresh lasagna sheets, or 4-6 of the boil ahead noodles
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Place sliced eggplant into a colander and sprinkle a healthy pinch or two of salt. Mix to coat and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile slice heat water in deep bottomed skillet (or stock pot) with about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Boil fresh pasta sheets for about 30-45 seconds each, one or two at a time, rinsing with cold water and placing on wax or parchment paper to cool.

Heat broiler to high, with shelf in upper third. Scatter eggplant onto baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and ground pepper. Cook under broiler for about 10 minutes, checking regularly to avoid burning. You want to slightly char the eggplant without burning. Set aside

Preheat over to 375.

In same pan you used to cook mushrooms, heat 1 tablespoon butter and a little olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Let mushrooms cooked undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes until they release liquid. Add garlic and thyme, mix and cook until all are browned. Set aside.

While mushrooms cook, or when they’re finished, make béchamel. In a small sauce pan, add butter over medium heat. When butter is close to browning, add flour. Whisk and cook 3 minutes until it begins to brown. Add 1 cup of milk and whisk until combined. Add remaining 2 cups milk and stir regularly until sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

Assembly:

In same pan you used for mushrooms and pasta, or other oven safe dish, rub butter or cooking spray on bottom. Add a layer of noodle and then cover with béchamel sauce. Add 1/3 of mushrooms and 6 slices of eggplant, top with a bit more béchamel. Add another pasta layer and repeat until all are used up. Top the final layer with any remaining béchamel and sprinkle over with Parmesan cheese.

Cook in oven for about 10-15 minutes. If desired, turn on broiler and cook an additional 2 or 3 minutes to brown the top. Serve and enjoy!

Posted in bechamel, Italian, main course, pasta | Leave a comment

Gordon Ramsay’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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Everyone has probably made scrambled eggs at some point, I know I have many times. They are always palatable, but I wouldn’t ever say I’m proud of those eggs. Now I lean more towards making a fried egg or an omelette, but once I started making Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs, there is really no reason to waste your time with watery, overcooked scrambled eggs ever again.

These eggs do requires an ingredient you probably don’t usually put in your eggs -crème fraîche. This however is what makes these eggs so awesome, creamy and perfect. The main points that Ramsay makes are:

  1. Don’t add salt to eggs until they are cooked
  2. Don’t scramble them ahead of time — scramble as they cook
  3. Stir constantly like it’s a risotto

If you follow all of these rules, you will have amazing eggs and this is how.

Ingredients:

2 Eggs
1/2 tablespoon butter (approximately)
1 teaspoon crème fraîche
Salt

Optional Ingredients:

3 tomatoes still on vine
2 or 3 small shiitake mushrooms caps
thick piece of toasted bread – sourdough would be ideal

Crack eggs into a medium size pot. In a separate small skillet, add a touch of oil, add tomatoes on vine and mushrooms, Season with a pinch of salt and cook in medium low heat. Also, toast bread at same time.

Meanwhile, add pot of eggs to a burner over medium heat. Begin to stir eggs with a spatula. Continue stirring for a minute or two, or until they are well mixed. Remove eggs from heat and stir for about 30 seconds and place back onto heat. Continue stirring until eggs begin to set and clumpy, but are not completely cooked. Remove from heat again and stir for another 30 seconds and then fold in crème fraîche.

Serve immediately with mushrooms, tomatoes and toasted bread. Season with a pinch of salt, and pepper if desired. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

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WerYoo – a new app to share photos

WerYoo is a new photo sharing app that let’s friends share pics of food, friends, cool places all while letting those friends see where the photo was taken. Users can check out photos nearby their current location, see what events or places are hot and even lets you search by time to see photos of say, NYE when the ball dropped.

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While there are other photo sharing sites out there, WerYoo’s unique approach of posting the photos to a location lets friends who are a timezone or an ocean apart, see what’s happening around them. Photos can easily be tagged and posted to twitter.

WerYoo is ideal if you’re traveling and want to see what’s happening around you to find that perfect snack or great dinner spot. The app can be downloaded here in the iTunes store. Check it out!

Posted in foodie, new york, social media | Leave a comment

Masq Restaurant and Lounge

Since March, upper east siders have had access to Masq, a new New Orleans style restaurant that has the look and feel of a place down south in Louisiana.  I had the chance to try out some of their dishes, wines and cocktails and was impressed. There are not that many restaurants offering all of these types of fare in one place and of this quality.

The restaurant itself is owned by a husband and wife team and the kitchen is run by Marc Getzelman. Because the restaurant is situated in long narrow former townhouse, there are several different areas, each of which can be rented out for private events. A small stage offers live music on Thursday nights and every night is happy hour from 4 to 8 PM. There is something for everyone, but those over 21 will enjoy some splendid cocktails, both from the bayou and beyond.

For starters, we were served a single macaroni and cheese croquette, with a spicy remoulade. The crispy outer layer and creamy center were incredibly paired with the spicy of the sauce. Three come in a normal order.

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Next we all shared a proscuitto and fig flatbread. Masq offers a few different flatbreads, two of which are vegetarian. The flatbread itself could have been a tad less crispy, but it was well prepared with the goat cheese and arugula to go with proscuitto and figs.

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The first of the ‘main’ courses was an Asian marinated salmon with a bed of mixed greens. You could say this is one of the healthy options on the menu. I normally am not a big salmon person, as it’s usually boring, but the Asian marinade of honey, garlic and soy sauce was quite nice. Just ask for it rare if you really want to keep in the flavor.

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A shrimp po’ boy came next, though a smaller version. Four different po’ boys are on the menu, but shrimp is what I would always want. The same remoulade that was on the mac n cheese ball came on this sandwich. Served with a nice slaw, it sure didn’t last long on my plate.

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Finally, one of the most renowned cajun dishes arrived — jambalaya. A spicy version at that, all coming from the andouille sausage. It also features chicken and shrimp, for the full trifecta. I loved the spice of this dish, and don’t know how I could put down a full portion, but I sure would try. One interesting twist is the addition of goat cheese. Definitely not cajun, but gives it a nice richness and cuts the spice if you’re having trouble.

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To send us home on a sweet note, we tasted a sabayon with fresh fruit. It was a nice end to the meal. Every dish did have that down home Cajun flavor, with the po boy and mac n cheese corquette being the winners in my book. If you’re looking to get a taste of New Orleans without the expensive plane ticket, come check out Masq.

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Mushroom Ravioli

ravioli

 

I am not entirely sure what compelled me to make ravioli, but I had some really nice mushrooms (chantrelle and porcini) and felt like going the distance. It may have been the video I had watched earlier in the day of Gordon Ramsay working as a sous chef for Michael Pierre White back in the late 1980′s. Ramsay looked the same, but in this case, was taking orders from someone else. They were making ravioli and I thought I too should make ravioli. This is actually my first attempt at ravioli, and I must say, it came out great.

If you have a kitchen aide with a pasta attachment or pasta roller, this wont be too difficult. If you don’t, and already know how to make pasta, you probably don’t need this recipe. Ravioli is easier than it looks, it just takes time and some patience. The idea here is to make a mushroom filling and thin sheets of pasta dough that you can cut into small rounds for the ravioli. You could also make larger ones, or smaller ones, whatever you prefer.

To keep the ravioli sealed, you will need to wipe the edges of the pasta with egg. Because this is fresh pasta, it will cook quickly, and you probably also want to use a light sauce of butter and herbs to keep the flavor of the pasta filling front and center. This would be a great thing to make a day ahead for a dinner party to impress all your guests. This could easily be a cheese filling, or a meat filling, whatever you decide.

 

Ingredients:
Makes about 22 ravioli

Pasta Dough (recipe courtesy of Michael Ruhlman)

9 ounces all-purpose flour
6 ounces egg (3 large eggs)

1 extra egg for ravioli (beaten in small dish)

Crack eggs into small bowl. Place flour into large bowl, making a well in the center. Pour eggs into center. Using your one or two fingers, beat eggs while slowly incorporating the flour. Continue until egg and flour are well combined and come together. On a lightly floured surface, place dough and knead for about 10 minutes. Press with heel of hand, then fold, repeating, until dough is smooth and silky (dough still may feel somewhat hard, but it should be smooth). Press dough into a large disc and cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least ten minutes, while you prepare filling.

Mushroom filling:

8 oz mushrooms (I used chantrelle and porcini), washed, and roughly chopped
1 large shallot, medium dice
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon dry sage
1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms, herbs a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown.

Add mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Place in a bowl and mix in goat cheese. Set aside.

Set a large pot of salted water to boil.

To make Ravioli:

Cut pasta until 4 even pieces. Working with one at at time (keeping the rest covered), roll pasta using whatever method available (Ideally kitchen aide pasta attachment or pasta roller). Roll pasta to a ’6′ on your machine. Ensure pasta sheets are well floured during the entire rolling process. Set aside each sheet on sheet trays lined with wax/parchment paper, that are well floured.

pasta sheets

Once all pasta has been rolled, using a small water glass or cookie cutter, cut out approximately 40 circles.

ravioli filing

Beat reserved egg in a small ramekin. Place about 10 ravioli pasta pairs along counter or work area. Add about teaspoon of filling to half of the pasta circles. You can always add a touch more filling, but you don’t want them to overflow. Using a brush or finger, place some egg around the edge of the filling pasta circle. Carefully cover it with the second piece and lightly press around the edges to seal.

If your pasta water is boiling, you can test one to ensure it remained sealed (boil until it floats and then for another 1 minute or so). If not, add a bit more egg to edges or use slightly less filling.

Repeat with remaining ravioli. You can set finished pasta into a large bowl. You may have extra pasta dough, which you can cut into large ribbons, or thinly and eat as regular pasta. Extra ravioli can be frozen for up to a month, or refrigerated for 1-2 days.

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Boil ravioli and serve with melted butter and herbs, or whatever you prefer. Enjoy!

Posted in Italian, main course, pasta | Leave a comment