Monthly Archives: February 2012

Summertime in Astoria

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the lack of sub-zero temperatures this winter and although a little snow would have been nice, an extra windy day this weekend sent any leftover, “I want snow,” feelings running for the hills. I’m so ready to put on jeans without tights and leave the house without gloves, I want 100 degrees and I want it NOW.

I apologize for that outburst. I understand that I cannot reasonably expect that level of heat in this part of the country during this time of the year. Until I come fully into my powers, at which time I will be able to control the weather, I will stick to the things I can control: my kitchen. For a summery Sunday supper, I decided that I would channel the flavors of the Mediterranean.

I started by making this chopped salad of red and green bell peppers, red onion, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. The dressing is a lemon and mint vinaigrette.

Then I marinated the chicken in olive oil, garlic, ginger, olives, juice and zest of 2 limes, cumin, salt and pepper. Then cover it and into the fridge for 3 hours.

I assembled these skewers with the chicken, peppers and onions. Then into a hot pan!

Once the chicken has some color, put them into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I also served the skewers and salad with pita and a dipping sauce made of red peppers, scallions and greek yogurt.

And since it was Sunday, here is a refreshing citrusy cocktail made with vodka, tequila, lemonade, OJ and lime juice.

Well, I suppose this is the best I can do until May, good thing my super keeps the heat on 80 all year round 🙂

What is your favorite summertime dish?

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Mac & Cheese: A Love Story

Once upon a time, during a stroll in the East Village, we happened upon a lovely little pub advertising $3 draft beers. I happen to be a big fan of $3 draft beers, so we decided to sit for a spell. The locally brewed ale was refreshing, but I had the pangs of hunger sneaking up on me. To my delight, I saw the menu boasted mac and cheese, then to my absolute enchantment, I saw the menu offered something else: chili mac and cheese. Something I’ve never had before, I enjoyed this dish so much that I had to attempt my own version.

I started by making the chili, then while it was simmering, I began with the mac and cheese.

<– Here is everything I used to make the cheese sauce.

I did not make the pasta from scratch (maybe some day soon) I used big shells from a box.

First I put the pasta into a pot of salty boiling water (this recipe calls for a 1/2 pound). The shells take 14 minutes, so that gave me plenty of time to make the sauce. First I mixed 3 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of flour. I whisked this all together, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Then I added half a onion, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 3 cups of milk, a dash of paprika and cayenne and salt and pepper. Then I let this simmer for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget the pasta!

After ten minutes, I added in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese. It melts fast and then in with the pasta! Once the pasta is all cheesy, pour it into the casserole dish (ours is foil cause we’re classy) and put 4 more ounces of cheese on top (just get a 12 ounce bag and do 2/3 and 1/3). I added a little spicy monterey jack too, but that’s up to you.

Then into a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until its nice and bubbly. A little scoop of this… a little scoop of that…and they lived happily ever after.

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Bleu Cheese Buffalo Chicken x 2

Last night I was on my own for dinner so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to cook a two-fer. I think you know where I’m going here… It’s a meal that you can cook for dinner and then eat again the next day for lunch!

Mix the crumbled cheese with the bread crumbs.

Add a little extra sauce and some olive oil or butter.

What I really wanted was chicken wings, but what I had was a chicken breast. I also had buffalo sauce and salad so I decided to pick up some bleu cheese crumbles and do a spin off of this garlic cheddar chicken recipe I saw. The recipe calls for you to dip the breast in oil, and then roll in breadcrumbs and cheddar before baking. Instead, I decided to marinate the chicken in the buffalo sauce and then roll it in bleu cheese and breadcrumbs to bake.

Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

I also crumbled up some bleu cheese in my salad and in the dipping sauce for a decadently cheesy dinner! It was tender and spicy and I had the perfect amount left over for a sandwich today. What more could you want?

Served with salad and bleu cheese dipping sauce!


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Check out Ramblings of an Old Man!

Brunch in Blue Eye via My Fajah and Mary!!

Ramblings of an Old Man

One of the great byproducts of sharing the home of my Brother and His Wife is the cooking of my Sister-in-law. She is a real old school kinda chef. Cast Iron pots and pans, glass covered storage containers, old wooden spoons and spatulas, and serving up all this great food on Royal Dalton fine china.

Today was a brunch day, truth be told, everyday is brunch day here in Blue Eye as most of us rise after 9am. I, of course, rise hours earlier, just by my nature. So today was really clean up the leftovers Brunch Day.

Left over hamburger, sharp cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese  squares, onions, tomato slices, cottage cheese, along with Bisquick, eggs, and Milk.

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My Heart Belongs to Chicken Tikka Masala

Do you have a restaurant you order from all the time? So much so that you make jokes about keeping them in business? I’m not saying they’re good jokes, but these sorts of jokes are made. I make them with regard to Seva Indian Restaurant in Astoria. It is, quite simply, the most delicious Indian food I’ve ever had and they have such a good delivery special that I’d be understating it to say that we order from there every week. It’s almost the only place we ever order from because it’s… that… good.

Mulligatawny: A tasty lentil soup that makes me melt.

Last weekend we were both in Queens for the day so we decided to go to Seva for lunch, something we’ve never done. We’ve in fact only been inside Seva once for dinner with some friends. Another thing we’ve never done is order something new, but today was the day. You see, Seva also boasts a lunch special with a soup and an entrée for 8 bucks. Their mulligatawny soup is heavenly, so we both started with that. Typically we go halfsies on one entrée, but on this day we decided to get two. One regular Chiken Tikka Masala (which, in the interest of full disclosure, is a dish invented by the British) and a new Chicken Vindaloo. The waiter asked if we were sure because the Chicken Vindaloo is very hot. Laughing smugly, as we eat a lot of spicy food, we assured him we’d be fine.

"Vindaloo" must be Hindi for "burn your freaking tongue off"

Luckily the naan bread will always calm the heat.

It's so good, I forgot to take a photo until this moment 🙂

Wrong! The “fiery” Chicken Vindaloo is pure torture! Nothing but heat in my mouth, I had two bites and was finished. Luckily we still had our old trusty Tikka Masala, which is just delightful. If you think you can handle the heat, I recommend the Vindaloo, but if not I still urge you to try Seva for delivery or for dine-in. I truly cannot recommend any restaurant more than I recommend Seva. It is my absolute, hands down, favorite place to eat. What’s yours?

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Giants V. Patriots: The Sequel

In all the post Super Bowl excitement, I have allowed my blog to go un-updated. For this I apologize, but if you’re a football fan, you can understand how the few days after a Super Bowl win can feel like vacation. No, this won’t be a blog about the Giants beating the Pats… again. When you’re on the winning side of things, bragging isn’t so attractive, is it?

So, despite my living partner having a truly metaphysical connection to the fate of the New York Giants, and despite a loss for them being a bigger loss for him, we live in NY so he wanted to have a party! BUT since he had to work until 5 on Sunday, guess who has two thumbs and got volunteered to host a party? This girl! Luckily I have an intense love for hosting and feeding people (I’m a product of my raisin’). And when a good friend volunteered to help by making wings (which were amazing by the way), I was thrilled to get to focus my energy on a new recipe: chili.

I found a recipe online, but I couldn’t help but tweaking it. My trick? Just leave it on the stove all day… how could it not taste good?

1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 yellow onion, 3 stalks celery, 2 jalapeños

1 22oz can crushed tomatoes, 1 6oz can tomato paste, 1 7oz can chipotles in adobo sauce, 3 cans beans (black, kidney and pinto)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started by chopping all the veggies, then sautéed them in olive oil for 5-10 minutes, then added the tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotles, the beans and all the spices. I made two versions, one with beef and the other without (it’s easy enough to do and you never know who isn’t eating meat this week).

After a brief freakout followed by some swift action, I was back on track!

Here’s where innovation played a big role. Our cooking pots are somewhat limited, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! Into the skillet with you, Mr. Chili! Don’t be afraid to improvise!

Spice-wise I basically added everything in my cabinet: Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and worcestershire sauce.

Then you gotta let it simmer covered. The recipe I found said two hours... I left it on for more like five. Top Chef says the longer, the better.

I won’t lie, this was time consuming, but it’s the sort of thing you can make and eat for weeks (a lot of people even freeze it for months). We ran out before the game was over, much to my chagrin, as I’m always afraid we don’t buy enough food while partner is always worried about having too much. On this occasion, we were much more popular than we had anticipated. Bully for us 🙂

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