Monthly Archives: April 2012

the other night, after working my little (okay, big) tush off at bar method, i passed by a pizza shop in soho. the smell of fresh basil and mozarella wafted out onto spring street, and i thought to myself, PIZZA. THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO EAT FOR DINNER. then i thought, no, sarah. you just burned a shit ton of calories in class and now you’re going to ruin it with an oversized slice o’ pizza? no, girl. no you are not. so i kept walking, all the way over to the A train, and from there to the L train, and from there up first avenue. and all the while, i kept thinking, “pizza. i could order from posto. i could stop and get the cheap $1 slice in the east village.” i should mention here that i’m not really a pizza kind of girl. i mean, if the line at pomme frite is too long and ray’s is closed (that’s a lie, ray’s is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week) and it’s 2am and i need something greasy, i’ll get a slice of pizza. but it’s never really my first choice. i don’t know what came over me the other night, i really don’t. but after deciding i really didn’t want to eat anything BUT pizza for dinner, i realized there was really no reason to spend $16 on an overpriced (and undersized) pie from posto. especially when i could make my own! so, make my own i did. i used this recipe for the dough, and then threw on a hodge podge of stuff i had in the fridge: marinara sauce, homemade pesto, grated romano cheese, mushrooms and spring mix lettuce. and you know what? it was pretty darn good! in fact, it’s still good right now, as i sit here eating it for a late breakfast.

is there anything better than a 10 minute meal that doesn’t involve the words “microwave” “lean cuisine” or “frozen food”? i think not. this meal falls into that category, coming together in under 10 minutes if you’re a fast food chopper. pineapple fried rice is one of my favorite things to order when i go out for thai food, but until recently, it was another one of those “i don’t dare attempt at home” sort of meals. that is, until i stumbled upon this recipe. 

there’s something about the smell of soy sauce, curry, and sautéed garlic that makes a kitchen feel warm and cozy, isn’t there? it’s like the spicy, takeout version of a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies.

i followed brooke’s recipe pretty much to a tee - but i used chicken broth instead of vegetable, and added way more curry powder than her recipe called for. i also omitted the coconut (i hate coconut). other than that, her recipe is pretty much foolproof. you can’t go wrong. 

you know how sometimes you just feel really damn cranky? like you can’t win no matter how hard you try, like life woke up this morning and decided it was going to beat you over the head with the shit stick?

this is what you eat when you feel like that. it’s also what you eat when you’re feeling under the weather, when you’re hungover, when your nose is snotty and your sinuses are swollen (gross), and when you feel like you can’t lift your head off the pillow.

matzoh ball soup. the jewish cure. miracle in a matzoh ball. it doesn’t really matter what you call it - this stuff works magic. on the plus side, it’s really easy to make, so when you wake up with a class A hangover, the kind where your brain feels like it’s too big for your skull and there’s a pounding that just won’t stop and you feel like you just might vomit everywhere if you take another step…you can still whip this up in under an hour. 

i have no real recipe for matzoh ball soup. the stuff is just in my veins, i guess. but basically, you’re going to need a box of matzoh meal.* follow the directions on the box to make your balls (essentially, you mix the matzoh meal with eggs and oil and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then shape the balls with your hands). in the meantime, prepare your broth. if you’re the type of guy or gal that makes homemade stock, more power to you. i’m a big fan of bouillon cubes. fast, easy, delish. so, you’ll need the chicken stock of your choice (don’t use veggie!). then slice and dice up what the french so classily call your “mirepoix”  ( chopped onions, carrots and celery). Mirepoix is the base of pretty much every great soup out there, so get familiar. 

another must have for real matzoh ball: fresh dill. slice it up as well. 

now that you’ve got it all assembled, throw your mirepoix in the pan to cook down with a little butter or oil. salt the veggies a little bit to let the liquids out. next, add your stock. then your dill. then your balls. a well-made ball with float straight to the top. let the balls hang in there for a little bit until they’re light, fluffy, and enlarged (that sounds dirty) - this can take anywhere from 20-40 mins depending on the size of your matzoh balls. 

season to your liking with salt and pepper, and serve. 

*can’t find matzoh meal? pulse a bit of matzoh in your food processor or blender. can’t find matzoh? what are you, a gentile?

meet the perfect cookie: crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, and you can thank chef anne burrell for this masterpiece - the molasses cookie. simple to make, fast to bake, amazing to eat. 

a few months ago, i watched anne make these cookies on her show, secrets of a restaurant chef. she served them with a coriander chicken dish that i have yet to make, and i literally salivated whilst sitting on my couch. i made the cookies that day, and have since made them multiple times. 

this recipe is a huge crowd pleaser - my coworkers love it, my friends adore it, even the folks at the bar method (where people are long and lithe and appear to never have consumed a single cookie in their entire lives) can’t resist these babies.

make them now, thank me late.r 

chinese food is one of those cuisines that i never dared to attempt at home. living in new york city, where you can get literally anything you’d like (food, drugs, sex, drinks, deliveries) at any hour of the day, it always seemed easier to just pick up the phone and call j.east (my local chinese delivery resto) than to make chinese food myself. that is, until i tried this recipe for orange sesame chicken. holy amazing party in my mouth. YOU GUYS, i made CHINESE FOOD. FROM SCRATCH. AND IT LOOKS JUST LIKE THE REAL THING. i even have photographic evidence! seriously, though, this recipe is DELICIOUS and so easy to make. sure, it takes a little time - but basically, you chop up some chicken breasts, dip them in batter, fry those babies up, and then coat them in sauce. 

the aforementioned sauce isn’t at all difficult to make, and contains cabinet must-haves like ketchup and honey, sugar and sesame oil. i swear, this meal is magic. i like to serve it with some freshly steamed broccoli and top it all off with chopped scallions. 

i’ve got two words for you: rainbow cake. no, three: rainbow swirl cake. this badass confection is so much fun to make, but even more fun to make. i made this for a coworker’s birthday, and suffice it to say, she was a happy girl with a happy tummy as soon as we cut this bad boy open. 

rainbow cakes look a lot more intimidating to make than they actually are. there are a myriad of great tutorials out there, so i’ll spare you the details and just link you here. basically, just make yourself some damn good yellow cake*, split the batter into bowls, color each bowl, then drop the different colors into concentric circles in your cake pans.

*my go to cake recipe is smitten kitchen’s “best birthday cake” - you can’t go wrong with this recipe. don’t attempt to taste the batter, because before you know it, you’ll have slurped down half of the bowl. this shit is GOOD.  you’ll need cake flour - i like swan’s down brand. it comes in a red box with yellow cake on the front, so it’s hard to miss. cake flour is finer, so it makes for fluffier, all around better cakes/cupcakes. go for the real thing, you won’t regret it. 

does anyone else feel a little less guilty when they down an entire pint of sorbet? no? that’s just me? okay then. here’s what i like about sorbet: it seems healthier than ice cream or candy or cookies or brownies (all of which i adore), and it’s fresh. as in, cool, refreshing, perfect for summer fresh. i’m also big into strawberries. as soon as they start populating the fruit stands on the streets of NYC, i’m all, “you give me 2 for $5? alright i’ll take 4 boxes.” i know, my bartering skills are top notch, don’t mess. 

this month’s issue of cooking light (a great foodie mag, don’t be fooled by the “light” title) contained an entire section about to do with spring and summer strawberries. ALL HAIL THE BERRY GODS! i am making me some shortcake, stat. but in the meantime, the temps rose to the high heavens last week in new york, and i felt it was time to pull my ice cream maker out of storage. apparently, the cooking gods agreed, because they sent me this recipe, for strawberry buttermilk sherbet. note: i’m calling mine sorbet. try and stop me. 

this recipe is the epitome of fresh and easy. all you need is buttermilk, strawberries, agave nectar, and a little bit of fresh lemon juice (grab yourself some meyer lemons…mmm…DELISH). the recipe also calls for some chambord, but i’m not classy enough to have that sort of thing on hand in my kitchen, so i did a bit of snooping around on the internet. according to my boy david lebovitz, alcohol in sorbets/sherbets helps them freeze right - not too hard, not too soft. too much alcohol, though, and you’ll just have a drunken mess. i opted for about a teaspoon or two of vodka in my sherbet, and i have to say, it turned out damn good!

is there a person in the world who doesn’t like froyo? find me that person, will you? because maybe they can convince me not to eat the entire container of deliciousness i whipped up yesterday on a whim.

here’s the thing about vanilla frozen yogurt, and frozen yogurt in general: when i’m eating ice cream out in the world (not making it from scratch), i think froyo is sort of gross. i hate how it slinks out of the machine, looking all processed and chemically-laden. i’m a pinkberry devotee (i know, probably lots of chemicals in that too), so i was eager to try the plain frozen yogurt in my david lebovitz book, the perfect scoop.*

all i needed was a container of plain whole milk yogurt (i opted for greek style from trader joes because i am a cheap jew), sugar, and some vanilla. i mixed them all together, let it chill in the fridge for a bit, then poured it into my ice cream maker. 15 minutes later, i had heaven. delicious, light, slightly tangy heaven. dare you not to eat the whole thing. 

to make:

3 cups plain whole milk yogurt (or you can opt for greek)

1 cup of sugar (use only 3/4 if you use greek yogurt)

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

mix all. refrigerate 1 hour. mix in your ice cream maker. eat. 

* if you’re an ice cream fan, order this on amazon. you won’t regret it. recipes are to die for. 

there’s dessert, and then there’s breakfast. and then there’s breakfast that tastes like dessert. these whole wheat banana bread muffins certainly fall into that category. they’re homey, perfectly dense and yet ultra moist (does anyone else hate that word?), and oh so good with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top.

i adapted this recipe, and used whole wheat flour in hopes of making it a bit healthier. stick them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, prick with a toothpick to make sure they’re done and serve them with butter. 

red velvet brownies.

yes, you read that right. want heaven in your mouth? make these.* they are positively the most delectable thing in the universe. just like the famed cupcake, these guys have that perfect hint of chocolate, and are made even better by the addition of FROSTING. 

really, is there anything better in this world than frosting? how many nights did i spend in college eating pillsbury whipped vanilla straight out of the container with an oversized spoon? too many. but i digress - all things are, generally, made better with frosting, and these brownies absolutely, unequivocally, fall into that category. if you’re too lazy to make frosting yourself, a store bought brand will do, but these babies taste best with a batch of homemade vanilla buttercream.

*recipe from how sweet eats