Monday, June 29, 2009

homemade potstickers

Growing up, potstickers were a mainstay whenever my family ordered Chinese food. In fact, they were so popular around our dinner table that we always made sure to get two full orders for the four of us. This doesn't sound like all that much, if not for the fact that my mom and I wouldn't touch the things. (Mom wasn't eating much meat back then and I wasn't a fan of the texture). My dad and brother on the other hand, well lets just say that they always ate their fill. So when I saw that this month, Jen of use real butter challenged the Daring Cooks to make potstickers from scratch, I knew just who to invite over for dinner. When my brother showed up (early, natch) I was just placing the first batch on the table. Thirty minutes and several dozen potstickers later, we were all too full to make much of a dent in the main course.

Not only were the potstickers delicious, but I really loved tackling this month's challenge. I had never made anything like this before, and it really got me out of my cooking comfort zone, which is exactly why I joined the Daring Cooks in the first place. Surprisingly, the recipe was much easier to make than I had anticipated. The only tricky parts were rolling out the dough to the proper thickness and making the cute little pleats in the dumplings, both of which I started to get the hang of after a couple of batches. A huge thank you to Jen for sharing her amazing family recipe, which I followed to the letter. This one was enough of a challenge for me without trying to get all fancy! I also wanted to note that I realize this post is late (really really late) but my brother was out of town on the official reveal date, and I wanted to make sure I could share these with him. Better late than never!

Homemade Potstickers
Recipe from Jen at Use Real Butter
Available
Here

Sunday, June 21, 2009

chicken breasts with apricot onion pan sauce



It's another cold wintery day here in New York. The skies are gray, the streets are slick with water and there's not an empty taxi in sight. It's the kind of day that makes me want to curl up with a good book and a hearty dinner. The only problem? Despite the deceptive weather, it's actually June. So slaving away over a pot of chili isn't exactly at the top of my to do list. But after a long day of braving the elements, a light summer salad is certainly not going to cut it, either. So what's a hungry girl to do?

Melissa Rubel's Chicken with Apricot Onion Pan Sauce was the perfect solution to my weather induced culinary indecision. The chicken warmed my rain ravaged body, while the bright and fruity sauce served as a gentle reminder that it is still summer, after all. Now if only mother nature would get the message.

Chicken Breasts with Apricot Onion Pan Sauce
Food & Wine Magazine, October 2008
Recipe available
here

Thursday, June 11, 2009

chocolate chip ginger molasses cookies

When I make cookies, I usually stick to the classics. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin...you get the idea. They're probably not going to knock your socks off, but they'll never let you down, either. I'll make a more exciting cookie every once in a while of course, but I usually find that while cookies with exotic ingredients and unusual flavor combinations are fun to try, they're not something I want to eat over and over again. Until now that is. To christen my brand new mixer, I whipped up a batch of Molly from Orangette's Chocolate Chip Ginger Molasses Cookies, which I've had bookmarked since March of 2007 (oops). The cookies are a sweet, delicately spiced and impossibly soft (even after three days in the mail!). Sounds good, right? Well it gets better. Because sprinkled amongst all of that chewy goodness are finely chopped pieces of candied ginger and bittersweet chocolate chips. These cookies are unique, exotic and you won't be able to get enough of them. No offense to plain old chocolate chip, but these cookies might just become your new best friends. Unless your old best friends sent you a KitchenAid mixer that is.


Chocolate Chip Ginger Molasses Cookies
From
Orangette, by Molly Wizenberg
Recipe Available
Here

Monday, June 8, 2009

quinoa salad

I finally have a kitchen with more than a square foot of counter space and I haven't been making much use of it come dinner time. I don't know if it's the warm whether, or the fact that I'm home studying most days and end up snacking all afternoon, but I haven't been in the mood to make a real evening meal in quite a while. No, dinner around these parts has been looking more like toast smeared with avocado, crackers and veggies dipped in hummus and, on one particularly hot evening, an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie ice cream. Clearly I needed an intervention. And I got one, in the form of Alice Waters. This Quinoa Salad, inspired by Waters' Tabbouleh Salad from The Art of Simple Food was just what I needed to get back on track dinner wise. It's healthy, filling and satisfying. It would also be great served at a late afternoon picnic. Just don't spoil your appetite for dinner.


Remember that time you promised to tell us all about the decadent treat you made with your brand new mixer and then gave us a quinoa salad instead? So here's the thing: if someone is nice enough to send you a KitchenAid mixer, I think that it's only right that you send them the first thing you made with it, don't you? So I will be telling you all about the treats that I made in my new mixer, but not until they are safely to my friends in Chicago and Washington. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.


Quinoa Salad
Inspired by Alice Waters's The Art of Simple Food

1 small eggplant, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
5 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt
sliced avocado and hummus for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes (roasting time may vary depending on how coarsely you chop the eggplant). Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions. Toss quinoa, eggplant, tomatoes, parsley and scallions together in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and add more lemon juice if necessary. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss to coat. Refrigerate the salad for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend. If using, top with sliced avocado and a couple of dollops of hummus.

Friday, June 5, 2009

surprise!

Yesterday evening I was doing some practice questions for the bar exam when a UPS man showed up on my doorstep. This was not anything out of the ordinary. You see, when you're setting up a new apartment in Manhattan, you end up having to order a lot of things online. There's no Target for miles, you don't have a car you can load your purchases into, and if you make one too many trips to K-Mart for garbage baskets and ironing boards and drying racks, the security guard stationed near the entrance may just look at you one day and say "welcome back." Seriously. Clearly I can never go back there again. So UPS on my doorstep has become something of a routine. The only problem was that on this particular evening, I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was that I had ordered. I checked the return address. William-Sonoma. Well no surprise there. But what could it be?

The box was quite large and heavy, and as I dragged it towards the kitchen I racked my brain trying to remember what was inside. I seriously had no clue. Hmmm, I thought as I got out a scissors to cut away the packing tape. I can't believe it's actually gotten to the point where I can't remember what I ordered. This does not bode well for my ability to remember sixteen hours worth of material for the bar exam. (Or for my credit card bill, but that's another story altogether). Wait, I though in a moment of inspiration. Maybe this isn't even for me--maybe it's for one of my neighbors and was delivered to me by mistake.

I checked the address line. There it was--my name, followed by "Esquire." Now I was pretty excited about finishing law school, but I'm not in the habit of referring to myself as "esquire." (Not yet anyways). Clearly, this was a gift of some kind. But I still had no idea what it could be. I opened up the box, lifted out the wrapped package, and slid the card out of the envelope. It was from my three best friends from college and it said "We are so proud of you--Happy Graduation, Birthday and Housewarming. We couldn't let you start your new life without...






(wait for it)










...your very own mixer!"

(Insert several minutes of squealing with excitement and jumping up and down here). It was only last week that I was telling you about how sad I was to say goodbye to Julia's red KitchenAid, and now I have one of my very own! Needless to say I was beyond touched and way beyond excited. Do I have the best friends in the whole entire world or what? (The answer is yes, and I could have told you that long before they sent me a mixer). Obviously I broke it out and started baking immediately. So what was the first thing I made? I promise to tell you all about it....next week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

{twd} cinnamon not so squares

True confessions time: I've been deceiving you. You see, every once in a while I will post a recipe on this site that instructs you to melt chocolate over a double boiler. The truth? When I test those recipes myself, I always melt my chocolate in the microwave instead. That's how my grandmother taught me, and I've just never had the patience to do it any other way. Until now that is. I decided that in honor of my new kitchen, I'd turn over a new leaf, and start doing things the "right" way.

Did that sound convincing? Because the truth is that while I did finally use the double boiler, it wasn't in the interest of correctness. No it was because my new kitchen has no microwave. But this week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe, Cinnamon Squares, was worth the time and effort. The base is a coffee cake laced with cinnamon, espresso and bittersweet chocolate chunks, and the whole thing is topped with a bittersweet chocolate icing. Instead of baking the recipe in an 8x8 pan, I made cupcakes (easier to transport to my bar class and distribute to my classmates). Other than that, I made the recipe as instructed and thought that it was delicious. If you omit the frosting (or not) it would also make a fabulous breakfast cake.
Thanks to Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures for this week's pick!

Cinnamon Squares
From Dorie Greenspan's
Baking From My Home to Yours
Recipe Available
Here