En route to Japan!!

Last home cooked meal til June! See you later NYC! Will keep you posted on Japanese cuisine as I go!

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Xoxo MCNūüėė

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Asian PersuAsian

I feel sometimes like I’m always apologizing to you people! ūüôā Mostly because I would like to provide you with delicious, easy, healthy (ish), usually quick recipes 7 days a week! But alas, I am only human. This will be my last recipe post for a while. I am traveling on a food journey to Japan (the country! Not in Disney) next week. I will be sure to keep ya’ll updated with the deliciousness that will be passing through my lips and seen by my eyes. I have so much to share today! Over the weekend I went to Art Frieze which was pretty awesome over on Randall’s Island. Here is a little peek:

 

Very fittingly, I made Japanese and Korean flavor inspired pasta last night. Thanks to my buddies at¬†Quinciple¬†for supplying the recipe and¬†the AMAZING (I’m OBsesseddd)¬†Sfoglini¬†pasta that came tucked in my Quiciple box on Monday. I had a goal to use all of the produce on our fridge last night so as not to waste anything. I have also been dabbling with baking a tiny bit. I won’t supply you with the recipes, but will add the links. Enjoy!

 

Buckwheat Radiators with Burdock, Crispy Shitakes and Asparagus

I also used some of the extra Pasta and Asparagus to make a small spin-off Pasta- Buckwheat Radiators (from now will be referred to as BWR’s) with asparagus, EVOO and¬†Cr√©me Fra√ģche

Ingredients:

  • 3/4¬†lb¬†Buckwheat Radiators¬†(1/2 lb for burdock shitake pasta; 1/4 lb for Cr√©me Fra√ģche) *Save Pasta water after boiling!!*
  • 2 pieces¬†Burdock¬†peeled and cut into thin discs
  • 1/3 lb¬†Shitake Muchrooms, de-stemmed and sliced medium-thin. Do not wash. Just brush dirt away with moist paper towel.
  • 1 Bunch¬†Asparagus¬†with the ends cut off and discarded.
  • 3-4 TBSP green garlic¬†minced (2¬†TBSP¬†for burdock shitake pasta; 2 TBSP¬†for Asparagus prep)
  • 1-2 TBSP¬†Bonji¬†(to taste. Bonji is similar to Soy Sauce but not as salty tasting and has a very in depth flavor)
  • 3 leave Shiso¬†cut into thin ribbons (to taste;¬†I LOVE shiso, it tastes like a mint leave but more mild)
    1/4 cup EVOO plus extra if needed
  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 whopping TBSP of¬†Cr√©me Fra√ģche
  • Salt & Peppa

Sake Pairing:¬†Sayuri Unfiltered Sake¬†(Sayuri mean “a little lilly” in Japanese! And the Bottle is PINK! STOP IT! How cute?!)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prep ingredients.

Place Asparagus in baking dish, drizzle EVOO and season with 2 TBSP green garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Heat up a non-stick 12 inch skillet with 2 TBSP EVOO and add Burdock. Cook for about 2 minutes, add 2 TBSP water to pan and cover with lid to allow the burdock to steam until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and let all of the water cook off.  Add green Garlic, and cook another minute longer, until garlic is fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, add another TBSP or so of EVOO, and add Shitakes. At this point, begin to boil 3 Qt of salted water in a pot for the Pasta. Cook Shitake’s until tender, then add Bonji, vinegar and sugar. Be sure to incorporate all ingredients thoroughly. Let the mushrooms cook until they begin to caramelize and become crispy (about 10 minutes). Once water is boiling, add¬†pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, saving pasta water¬†for¬†sauce. When the Asparagus is finished,¬†remove from oven and cut into 1 inch pieces being very careful since it is HOT!¬†Add ¬†2/3 of the pasta and 3/4 of the asparagus¬†and the burdock mixture to the shitakes in the pan. Drizzle 1/4 EVOO to pasta. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water and mix. Taste, and add more Bonji if needed.¬†Sprinkle Shiso over top.¬†¬†Seperate into warmed serving bowls.

For the second pasta: PLace the remining 1/3 pasta into a medium bowl with remaing asparahus. Mixx in¬†Cr√©me Fra√ģche, salt and peppa, some EVOO. you may add some Shiso on top of this as well if you desire. ¬†

Mangia!

 

Here is a pic of some of my recent baking experiments. The first is¬†Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling¬†(my mouth just watered) and¬†Vanilla Butter Cream Meringue Frosting¬†thanks to Cook’s Illustrated Online. They turned out Uh-Mazing! And were actually really easy. Most of the ingredients any chef would have. Just buy some fancy chocolate bars and some Hershey Cocoa and Voila! Easy-Peasy cupcakes!

Last night I made Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze Frosting and HOLY YUM! I just used a recipe I found online from Giada on Food Network. They turned out INCREDIBLE. One hint- I used fresh Ricotta, not that crap they try to pawn of as Ricotta in the dairy isle of the grocery store. Ricotta cheese is fairly easy to make, but a lot of grocery stores such as Whole Foods¬†and Fairway Market¬†make it fresh to buy. I will add cookie pics tomorrow ¬†ūüôā

xoxo MCN

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Colorful, Healthy AND Easy!

Confetti Salad

Paired with Fluffy Cheesy Eggs and  Crispy Purple Potatoes

A day late, but not a dollar short ūüėČ

This is¬†Quinciple’s¬†coined Confetti Salad. Mostly named this because it looks like confetti was sprinkled into a bowl for your consumption enjoyment (a term that I coined ūüėČ ). I LOVE the weird ingredients in this salad (meat radish!) and how beautiful it turns out. Oh, and of course, how every bite is a burst of flavor in your mouth! AND easy to clean up.¬†The dressing is simple yet pairs perfectly with these vegetables. I served this salad with scramble cheesy eggs and crispy purple potatoes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1/2 Green meat Radish
  • ¬†Fistful of green shallots (don’t be shy, they are yummy! save a 1/3 cup for the potatoes)
  • 3-4 small rainbow carrots
  • 1-2 heads of baby lettuce
  • 1/2 apple sliced (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4-6 tsp EVOO
  • Salt & Peppa

Potatoes:

  • 1/2 lb (for 2 ppl) purple peruvian potatoes
  • Shallots
  • EVOO

Eggs:

  • 4 eggs (2 per person) Scramble with cheese of choice.

First: Prep ingredients. Wash all produce. Shop lettuce into ribbons. Trim roots of shallots, and mince shallots. Chop the remaining vegetables in two different fashions: mince half of each vegetable, and slice the other half to resemble match sticks. This will give the salad a confetti look.  Place all chopped vegetables, lettuce, and shallots into a medium bowl.

Dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, garlic and 4 Tsp EVOO. Salt and pepper to taste. Add more EVOO to taste if the dressing is too acidic. Just before you are ready to eat, toss dressing into the salad. Divide into 2 bowls and serve.

Potatoes: Place potatoes into a pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Potatoes are ready when you can easily slide a fork through the potato. Be careful not to over cook. Drain potatoes. Slice each potato in half long ways.

 

Heat 3 TBSP¬†EVOO in a pan large enough so the potatoes aren’t crowded. Gently lay potatoes in pan and cook until crisp on one side, flip over to crisp the other side (3- 5 minutes per side).¬†Add shallots to pan and continue to heat until fragrant (30 sec to 1 min). Remove from heat, plate potatoes. Your pan should be non-stick ready from the potatoes. feel free to just ad your eggs to the same pan and scramble up with choice of cheese. This should only take about a minute or two.

Voilà! Your meal is served! Mangia!!

xoxo MCN

 

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Broad Street Run- Philadelphia

Broad Street Race 2014

35th Anniversary

Hi everyone! I don’t want to make excuses, but I want to apologize for not having posted in almost one week! I promise to have a recipe up by the end of the day tomorrow. Scouts Honor! Part of my excuse is that I took a¬†mini trip to Philadelphia over the weekend, where¬†I completed my 5th¬†year¬†(in a row!)¬†Broad Street Run¬†10 mile race! We used to live in Philadelphia, and 5 years ago, Broad St became my first long distance run ever! Of course that year it was record high heat and I swore off long runs forever!!! About 10 long distance races later……

This year, the Borad Street Race celebrated it’s¬†35th year in the running and it only becomes more fun each time. Over 40,000 people passed through the finish line (probably more like 50,000!) I’m embarrassed to tell you that I barely trained, so my time wasn’t awesome, but I am proud to say I at least ran the entire time! No walking! Now I can eat whatever I want for the week, right? Uhhh wait, that’s not how it works? Damn it! Anyway, here are some photos from the weekend to hold you over until tomorrow when I will share¬†Quinciple’s¬†Confetti Salad Recipe along with some of my own additions ūüėČ

Peanut Chews¬†are actually native to Philadelphia! And they are¬†UH-MAZING. If you haven’t – DO IT! Believe it or not, they were originally used by the US military as ration bars during WWI!

After running Broad Street, Brunch is a MUST! This year we indulged at¬†Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia¬†(one of our favorites!).

Until tomorrow!!

xoxo MCN

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Polenta Experimenta

Pecorino Polenta

topped with Spicy Mushrooms Balsamico

I have always been a bit intimidated¬†by¬†polenta. Not only does it take FOREVER (and it DOES take forever! And by forever I mean at least one hour and a HALF! Don’t let the recipe’s fool you!. I received polenta in my Quinciple¬†box a week or two ago. My first thought was, ‘rut row, now I’m forced to make polenta!’ Usually (sorry, Quinciple!) I never believe the timing of Quinciple recipe’s, mostly because once I was cooking Risotto per their recipe and damned them to hell for telling me it would take 30 minutes! YEAH RIGHT! It took almost, 2 hours! My feet hurt by the end! Talk about CONSTANT stirring! So I am ashamed to say I didn’t even look at Quinciple’s polenta recipe. Well don’t you worry, Quinciple! Payback is certainly a¬†B*&@$. Usually I cross reference my recipes: Quinciple (or whomever) with¬†my Cook’s Illustrated bible. I guess in my laziness I skipped this step. Turns out the Quinciple directions say it will take an hour and a half! #lessonlearned!¬†My GO TO,¬†Cook’s Illustrated¬† gets it wrong sometimesss. Actually… wait! No it doesn’t! ¬†This is the first time CI has wronged me!¬†(Don’t fret child, I still LOVE YOU!) I trust their recipes 100%. Still do¬†even after me and Polenta got in a fight after it took an hour and a half to cook. It’s probably something I’m doing a bit wrong, or maybe it was the type of polenta I was using, hence why Quinciple was closer to the correct timing. But the end result was¬†still great. So I guess I’ll go with that good ol’ saying that everyone knows, “all’s well that ends well!” And ain’t it the TRUTH! PREACH!!

I think in total, it took me about an hour and 40 minutes. And I had tasted it so after that I was practically full! That being said, my victim, AHEM.. I MEAN taste tester, really enjoyed the polenta. It just depends on if it is worth it to you to perfect polenta in your kitchen. This recipe does turn out lovely. I kept myself entertained with this really great sparkling Rose:14089856593_54bfb5b7e5_b

Anywho… On to the Recipe:

Ingredients:

Polenta:

  • 1 1/2 cups¬†Polenta¬†(medium-grind cornmeal, preferably stone ground)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 stick of butter; divided into 3 TBSP and 5 TBSP (5 TBSP is optional)

Spicy Mushrooms in Balsamico:

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 small yellow onion¬†chopped
  • 1 Jalepeno chopped, with seeds for spice! (optional)
  • 2-3 medium cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 lb Wild Mushrooms¬†(I used white button MR’s from Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms, Landenberg, PA¬†, but you can use cremini, shiitake, oyster, or a blend! Chef’s choice!)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth (or vegetable)
  • 1 TBSP¬†Balsamic Fig Vinegar¬†(or any high end Balsamic Vinegar of your choice)
  • Salt and Peppa
  • Block of Locatelli Pecorino Romano¬†Cheese for grating into Polenta and on top of individual bowls.

First, get the polenta going! Like I said, it takes about 90 minutes. Boil 6 cups of water in a heavy bottomed 5 qt pot with a lid- I used the Le Creuset 5 qt dutch oven which worked well. While the water is working up to a boil, prep your ingredients.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, reduce the burner to the lowest possible setting and add 1 TBSP of salt. Pour the cornmeal into the water slowly and steadily, whisking as you pour to prevent lumps. Cover, and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon for 10 seconds every 5 minutes or so. This helps to prevents clumps and to prevent the bottoms from burning. Make sure to scrape up any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. You will know when the polenta is ready, it will be smooth and it will lose it’s starchy flavor. I would definitely taste test at the 30 minute mark, but keep it going until it tastes creamy. Right when it tastes good, I added the remaining butter and grated¬†about 1/2 cup of the Lovatelli¬†cheese¬†into the Polenta.

While the polenta is (slowly) cooking, melt 3 TBSP butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and Jalepeno’s. Saute until softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and rosemary and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add Mushrooms. Saute stirring occasionally until softened (about 5 minutes).

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Add Fig Vinegar and give it a stir (about 30 seconds). Add broth or stock and salt and peppa to taste.

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Simmer briskly until sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes and adjust seasoning as necessary.

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If the mushrooms are finished and the polenta still tastes starchy (don’t worry… just keep sipping that sparkling Rose!), put the mushrooms in a bowl an set aside. You can always reheat them once the polenta is ready.

Once the Polenta is ready, divide into bowls, top with spicy mushroom balsamico and sprinkle some cheese on top!  (My mouth just watered when I wrote that!)

Mangia!

xoxo MCN

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Citrusy Spring Salad- With Warm Endive and Walnuts

Citrusy Spring Salad- With Warm Fennel and Walnuts

It’s that time of the year! My favorite time- when the flowers are starting to bloom (in NYC they are sprouting up everywhere!) and the weather is warm enough to lose your jacket. Ahhhh… feel the weight off your shoulders from this extremely cold (or what some people say is closer to¬†“normal”) NYC winter.

I discovered this versatile salad when trying to decide what to do with the fennel, and an array of other greens that were sitting in my fridge from a couple weeks worth of Quinciple¬†boxes (don’t judge me! I have a hard time using¬†the greens and potatoes some weeks). So I of course typed in the key word, “fennel” into my online Cook’s Illustrated¬†magazine. A wonderful recipe titled, “Radicchio and Watercress Salad with Warm Fennel and Walnut Dressing” popped up in the search window. Umm… YUM?! I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit because ¬†hate anchovies {{GASP!}} and I had other greens that I wanted to use. So this recipe is the very first cousin to Cook’s Illustrated online magazine’s recipe. (I also own their giant text book which I use all the time! I cross reference other recipe directions with this book. It’s basically my cooking bible). I love this recipe¬†because there is a ton of depth in the flavors. It is both citrusy and nutty, and the warmed dressing turns out just right. Not too vinegary or sour like some vinegar based dressings can (easily) be. I used Capirete Sherry Vinegar, which is delicious! It also pairs wonderfully with a crisp white Rioja (yes- WHITE RIOJA!)¬†which I sipped as I¬†moseyed around my kitchen last week¬†making this salad.¬†This Rioja in particular is¬†Alberti 154 Torrentes Salta La Rioja 2011, compliments of Astor Wines¬†delivery. You will not be upset with this wine. It is crisp and fresh, and will get you in the mood for spring! And salads! Win Win!

Side note: If you are interested, I have discussed the 12 (bottles of wine) under $12 home delivery from Astor Wines in a previous post.

Side note (I know… a lot of these today): Seriously, if you love home cooking… SUBSCRIBE to Cook’s Illustrated online magazine! It’s UHH-MAZING! #notpaid¬†

ANYWAYSSSS… This wonderfully diverse salad¬†can be eaten as an appetizer, used as a side, or as the main dish. AND, because of the ingredients, it’s a salad that stays crunchy even after the dressing has been on for a day. Don’t get me wrong- it is definitely best when eaten right away, but I had left overs at work the next day, and I was pretty happy eating my lunch.

Here we go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Garlic clove (or 3 cloves if you’re Italian or LOVE garlic!)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 TBSP¬†sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-6 turns peppa mill
  • 1/3 cup EVOO plus extra
  • 1 cup red walnuts couresely chopped
  • 1 medium bulb fennel. Watch¬†this video¬†how to trim and cut fennel if you’re not sure.
  • 2 anchovy fillets minced (optional. You can use an extra pinch of salt if you omit these creatures)
  • 1 medium head radicchio
  • 2 cups leafy broccoli Rabe (the CI recipe calls for Watercress)
  • 1 cup mixed greens or spinach
  • 1 grapefruit cut into wedges
  • Shaved¬†Pecorino Romano¬†from¬†Food Matters Again¬†via¬†Quinciple

Prep all ingredients. Wash all leafy greens and fennel.

Dressing: Briskly whisk together garlic, lemon juice,sherry vinegar, salt and peppa. Set aside.

In a non stick sauce pot, on medium heat, add 1 TBSP EVOO and walnuts. Cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add fennel and cook until slightly softened and browned, another 3 minutes. Add a tsp salt and a few cranks of peppa (to taste). Grab the bowl of dressing. Give it a stir to re-blend. Slowly pour dressing over walnut fennel mixture and turn off heat. Stir with a rubber spatula to evenly coat the walnuts and fennel.

In a large bowl, toss together warm fennel walnut mixture, leafy greens and  radicchio. Divide salad into bowls. Sprinkle shaved pecorino romano over top. Decorate with 2-4 wedges of grapefruit (depending on if it is an appetizer size salad or main course size salad)  Serve immediately.

Mangia!

xoxo MCN

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Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes-

-and it’s best friends:

Bacon, Parsnips & Basted Eggs!

Breakfast foods are¬†BY FAR my favorite to eat (whether it is actually eaten at breakfast, inner fr 4 am matters very little to me!) Breakfast for dinner? YES PLEASE! Crisp salty bacon? Runny buttery eggs? Salty sweet browned pancakes!¬†OH man, I just drooled! Here is one of my favorite Sunday morning breakfasts. It does not take long to make, the mess is minimal to moderate, and it’s really easy to juice up some fresh oranges if you’re so inclined! Fresh brewed coffee is, of course, a MUST as well. Morning just can’t become afternoon without it (I think I’m going to copy right this ūüėČ )!

The following recipe’s are a hybrid form my own experimentation,¬†Cook’s Illustrated, and¬†Quinciple. This is also more of how to prepare a breakfast meal as opposed to just one thing. You’ll see what I mean. Keep reading!

Ingredients:

Pancakes- (makes about 8-10 small-medium sized pancakes)

Bacon-

  • 2-3 slices per person¬†¬†(EASY!)

Parsnips-

  • 2 large parsnips ¬†(or one per person)
  • EVOO
  • salt
  • peppa
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped

Basted Egg-

  • 1-2 eggs per person
  • 1 TBSP per egg (for frying)

*Side note: If you have milk, but you don’t have butter milk, do NOT panic! It’s really easy to make buttermilk. Just put 1 TBSP white vinegar or lemon juice in a wet measuring cup, then add milk until the 1 cup mark on the measuring cup. Then use however much your recipe calls for. See?! Easy! Breathe! Continue.¬†

OK, first thing first. Preheat that oven to 450 deg F and prep ingredients. Oh, and if you haven’t already brewed coffee… WHAT THE HECK are you waiting for!? ūüôā

The parsnips take about 40 minutes to brown, so you want to get them going. Peel the tough skin form the parsnips. Cut the parsnips into equal bite sized pieces. It is important that the sizes are equal so they cook evenly. Place pieces into a bowl, drizzle EVOO and salt and pepper- toss together to coat evenly. Place parsnips in an over safe dish and pop into preheated oven.

Now that the parsnips are heating up, let’s make the pancake batter. I always like the batter to sit for a few minutes which is why I make it before cooking the bacon. Whisk¬†all of your dry ingredients (flour(s), sugar, salt, baking powder and soda) in¬†the main bowl that you will use to pour the pancake batter onto the pan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, buttermilk, egg and melted butter). Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients mixing gently as you pour. It is important NOT to over mix! Set batter aside.

Heat up your¬†grill pan ¬†to 350 deg¬†F,¬†or if you’re using a large non-stick pan, heat on medium high. Add bacon to pan and cook bacon as you like (I like mine really crispy). Place cooked bacon onto a paper towel lined plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Wipe off excess bacon grease from pan. Leave about a TBSP worth to use for pancakes.

At this point, check on the parsnips. Give them a little mix in their baking dish to evenly brown them.

Pour pancake batter into pan so pancakes are about 4 inches in diameter (or to desired size). Sprinkle a few blueberries onto the wet side ¬†of the pancake that faces you. When the wet side of the batter starts to bubble, and the side down is golden brown, flip the pancake. cook another minute or two until the other side is golden brown. You will notice that the pancake is slightly crispy from using the bacon grease to non stick the pan ūüėČ . Place pancakes on a plate and tightly cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Check the parsnips once again. This time, give them a little mix, and add rosemary (about 5 minutes before they will be served, when they are starting to brown on the edges)

In the same pan, add a tbsp of butter and let melt. Slowly crack the egg right into the butter (it’s OK if you just drooled, imagine the smell of the butter slowly warming and melting in the pan!), TO baste the egg, place a lid over the egg. You can also add 1 tsp of water next to the egg right before you place the lid over top. This increases the¬†moisture under the lid¬†which creates a white film to develop over the egg.¬†At this point, you can also heat up your maple syrup, about 25 seconds in the microwave. It’s almost time to MANGIA!

Put it all together, Sprinkle some Pinot Noir Flake Salt and some peppa onto you egg, some maple syrup on your pancakes, and ENJOY!!!

Side note: I used my Le Creuset ceramic baking dish to bake the parsnips, and of course, it was stained brown by the end. In under one minute with hardly any elbow grease, I was able to make my pan look brand spanking new again using my white vinegar and salt method. GO on, TRY IT!

Mangia!

(P.S.- I know I promised a spring salad in my previous post, I will post this later today! The wait is finally over!)

xoxo MCN

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