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I was nervous and excited to teach my class last week at Ger-Nis in Brooklyn, hosted by Kitchensurfing. I felt both under-prepared and over-prepared at the same time, and was just praying my timing turned out OK (as in, we weren’t sitting down to eat at 11pm). But my worry was, as usual, unjustified, because the most fantastic group of people showed up ready to have fun. It didn’t hurt that Mark was making delicious drinks!

Melissa, my lovely assistant, took some photos throughout the night. We made some vinaigrettes, some mostly no-cook salads (watermelon, feta and mint salad; corn & jalapeño salsa with cilantro-lime vinaigrette; tofu, avocado and tomato salad with citrus-soy dressing; and a quinoa salad with roasted cauliflower and cumin-paprika dressing), talked about cooking and vegetarian food and whatnot, and at the end we all sat down to eat. What a fun evening! I really hope I’m able to teach another class soon. I’m already devising the topic: vegetarian via Italy — frittatas, pastas, and bitter drinks!

Anyhoo, enjoy the pics after the jump, and follow me on Skillshare for next time!

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I have been so remiss, what with catering a giant birthday party (more on that later), suffering through a summer cold, and getting sunburned in Southern California. But I have news! I am teaching a class (with Mark doing cocktails of course) on the basics of a vegetarian pantry and how to build not-boring salads. We’ll finish with a no-cook meal that highlights a ton of amazing seasonal produce and I am so excited.

The awesome folks at Kitchensurfing are hosting at the Ger-Nis Culinary and Herb Center, a totally amazing teaching kitchen space in Gowanus. So basically what I’m saying is, take my class! Click here!

These salads are both a kind of preview and explanation for the theme of the class…they were both satisfying, hearty salads that I made with stuff I had laying around. Very summery and vegetarian. You could of course make these on purpose, but in my case they were a fridge clean-out kind of situation.

In the first, I made rice and mixed it with a chunky pesto / chimichurri / herb concoction. If you ever have multiple bunches of herbs laying around and no clue what to do with them, I highly recommend this solution. This particular version was mint + parsley + cilantro in generous amounts, blended with lots of lemon juice, olive oil, jalapeño for kick, and pistachios. I mean, I wanted to eat this stuff with a spoon it was so piquant. It literally justified using the word piquant. Imagine! It would be so good on grilled corn, or grilled fish, or really anything at all. In this case I mixed it with rice and topped the whole thing with a raw veggie salad, mixed with some extra lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The second salad is a kind of healthy taco salad I suppose. Romaine hearts topped with a veggie tofu scramble — zucchini, corn, crumbled tofu, and spices like cumin and cayenne. Top with crunchy tortilla chips and some cotija cheese and you’ve got yourself a salad. Love the hot + cold, soft + crunchy going on in this salad.

So in conclusion, take my class if you’re interested, and I hope it’s the first of many to come.

I didn’t manage to fully document the day of cooking. I’ll be honest, lighting and taking pictures while dealing with not enough surface area in your kitchen, washing the same dishes 10 times, and trying not to burn /ruin anything is a tall order. Once again, we made an obscene amount of food for 5 people, but hey, I’m going to live on those leftovers for the next 4 days so it’ll be perfect. I am definitely a sneak-a-bit-of-pie-with-the-fridge-door-open-and-no-utensils kind of person and not ashamed.

You’d think that all the cooking I’ve done in the last couple of weeks (most of which undocumented here) would leave me longing for take-out and slices of pizza and no dishes. But honestly, it’s made me want to cook more. Particularly, as is the theme of this blog, for the purpose of sharing. It’s the best kind of satisfaction to make something from scratch to enjoy with friends and loved ones. I’ve got some browned butter cranberry muffins on the docket if we’ve still got cranberry sauce around in a couple of days, and pizza with chard and goat cheese and chili oil too. I’ve got salted caramels on the brain and fresh baked bread and roasted squash. If there’s one thing that’s a-okay about the impending cold, it’s that I’ll be more than happy to be cozied up at home leaning over a hot stove with a glass of wine in hand.

So here’s to baking season, to the holidays (as much as they stress us out) and to not forgetting to be thankful all the time, not just when there’s a turkey in the oven. It may sound trite, but when everyone is saying how thankful they are in their facebook status updates, it can’t seem that off-kilter!

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite holiday (do you wonder why?). I was literally dreaming of cooking Thanksgiving last night — although in my dream I was making Empanadas. Random. Right now I’m drinking coffee with Charlie Brown on in the background, soon I’ll put on Home for the Holidays, by far my favorite holiday movie. I think I’ve watched it approximately 50 times by now, but somehow it never gets old.

Anyway, Gemma and I are about to be cooking up a storm — here’s what’s on the menu for our (Vegetarian) Thanksgiving:

Appetizers
Baked Brie (wrapped in crescent roll dough with caramelized onions. this one’s a tradition for us.)
Rosemary Cashews
Roasted Fennel Dip with Parmesan

Main
Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

Sides (it’s all about the sides, let’s not even pretend otherwise)
Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts two ways – roasted with hazelnuts & hashed
Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Goat Cheese and Pickled Red Onions
Angel Biscuits with Cranberry Butter
Stuffing with Mushrooms, Sage and Chestnuts
Cranberry Relish

Dessert
Spiced Pumpkin Pie
I’m also debating whether to make these Cranberry Curd Bars because they sound SO GOOD.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

That’s me in the kitchen at St. Cecilia’s. Pretty sweet glasses, huh?

Does a tub of macaroni and pot full of meat so thick the spoon stands up sound like cafeteria food? Well, yeah. But Nick and Theo’s food at the Epic Prom Saturday was far from cafeteria quality. Call it a meeting of the high and low brow. Much like the entire event.

I had a lot of fun at Epic Prom, even though technically I was “working”. I got to wear these fun 1950’s glasses and do the twist with a plastic cup of wine in my hand, and I was able to help Nick and Theo, who are all around good guys. The people-watching was pretty stellar too. There was quite a cast of characters, including the friendly neighborhood priest (Howard Dean’s doppleganger), a gaggle of church ladies, slick bartenders (named Vito and Alejandro no less!) and some seriously dressed up attendees. Not to mention Adam, the evening’s eccentric host, looking a bit like Josh Groban combined with Tom Wolfe (thanks to his flowing locks and all-white suit).

The menu included corned beef nuggets (OK,  sounds weird but they were SO good), homemade pate, bean dip with dill oil, romaine hearts with chunky blue cheese dressing, spicy mac & cheese, sloppy joes topped with coleslaw and crushed potato chips, tiny snickerdoodles, and “spiked milk”, otherwise known as guinness + ice cream + milk, otherwise known as I WILL DRINK THIS ALL NIGHT AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

OK and then there was the entertainment. In addition to the DJ spinning tunes from the 50’s, we enjoyed the performance from The Harlem James Gang. Look these guys up. They are the dapperest dudes ever. And they can dance. And sing. And yes, they are cooler than you, just get over it.

Here’s a good selection of pics from Metromix, with some good food shots thrown in:

Here are some pics from Brooklyn 365 (why do I have crazy eyes in every picture I’m in??)
http://brooklyn365.com/2010/05/epic-prom/

And here are all the chips I crushed (She-Ra!)

And a couple more pics….thanks Santiago!

People are passionate about their tacos, I’ll tell you that. The Brooklyn Taco Experiment was possibly the most exhausting and hectic of all the cook-offs I’ve done, and I’ll tell you why. Tacos. Take. Work.

Lauren and I had about 100 tupperwares, containers, tote bags, and boxes between us and still we were improvising. Thirty pounds of pork shoulder alone. And we had about the perfect amount after it was all said and done. I’m convinced we made way more than 300 tacos.

We had about 4 square feet in which to display / heat / assemble our tacos, and some seriously stubborn donated tortillas to deal with (not all the best things in life are free, I’m just sayin’). Nothing makes me feel older than standing for a whole day. Man, my back hurt!

No prizes this time, but I have to say, I have not seen so many hard core competitors (or so many competitors, period — there were 30 tacos to try) in any previous cook-off, and though once again I tried nothing, my friends who were there said it was a stellar group. So I’m not in the least bit sad about the lack of prize winning. If I were there and had to try 30 tacos, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to pick a favorite at all.

I think it might be time to take a bit of a cook-off hiatus. Work is crazy busy, and I have some possible big purchases coming up (including a car?!?) so the massive amount of time and money that these things take will just not be available to me. However, I will be an enthusiastic spectator and continue to follow Nick & Theo’s meteoric rise to the top of the New York foodie scene.

My final taco?

Slow roasted pork (with habanero, pasilla, ancho and chipotle chiles and cinnamon), creamy jicama slaw, home pickled onions and jalapenos, cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime, and cilantro! We also served a tequila punch: tequila, guava juice, orange juice, and fresh squeezed lime juice.

(these 2 pics are from the Huffington Post article on the event!)

It’s another cook-off, y’all! Nick and Theo are back with the Brooklyn Taco Experiment at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Since pretty much anything worthy of going into a taco is delicious in my book, this one should be pretty fun. I’ll be there competing (taco recipe as yet undetermined), so get your tickets now!

When does something become so long overdue that you can’t even use the term “belated”? Extremely belated? Grossly belated?

In any case, here’s a rundown of a few of the Thanksgiving delicacies we enjoyed…

First up, house smoked turkey. Holy crap it was delicious. I’m pretty sure it went into the smoker at like 9 am and then didn’t come out until about 6:30 pm. Although it was not me slaving over the smoker, I can pretty confidently say that the amount of work it took was worth it. I’ve never had such moist, flavorful turkey in my life. And it looks pretty cool, too.

One of my non tradition traditions. Brie wrapped in Pillsbury crescent dough and baked. Gooey.

Spiced rosemary cashews.

Biscuit and Cornbread Dressing, a la Martha Stewart.

Roasted Brussels sprouts. Look, I know they taste like feet, but they taste like delicious feet, OK??

Pop. Overs. I bought a special pan just for these things and boy are they tasty! Recipe from The Kitchn.

Delicata squash for the salad (with pomegranate seeds!)

We also had cranberry butter, sweet potato pie, and red wine poached pears with mascarpone cream filling. Oh, and did I mention there were four of us? I recognize the perversity of that, believe me, I do. So does my belly.

Picture 2

September 13. The Bell House in Brooklyn. More cheese and beer than your little heart could ever desire. I’m competing with my Lasagna Cheese-o-Rama, so don’t you dare miss it!

Tickets will sell out before the day, so get them here:

The Food Experiments

I will officially be cementing my reputation as a baker at the Fierce & Sweet bake-off in October, benefiting New York Cares. If you don’t know about New York Cares, you should — they make it very easy to volunteer with a ton of New York area non-profits, on as frequent or infrequent basis as works for you. Check out the Fierce & Sweet page for info about the cause, judges, and to RSVP for some baked deliciousness!!

I have no idea what I’m making yet, but rest assured my test batches may make it onto this blog…I just won’t reveal it’s for the competition until afterward in the interest of intrigue!

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