I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Zucchini and Shitake Pot stickers

Do you find blog posts just piling up in the summertime? I know I do. I am struck by inspiration at every turn in the greenmarket so I'm constantly making new dishes but then I get so caught up enjoying the summer activities that I fall behind in my posting. Then I get really frustrated with myself when I've posted something after it's season has passed.

Thankfully these zucchini are still all over the place at the markets. Paired up with earthy shitake mushrooms and tart sherry vinegar they make an uncomplicated tasty dumpling.

Zucchini and Shitake Pot stickers
1 large summer squash chopped into small pieces
1/2 c. shitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
2 TB butter
1/8 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/8 c. chopped cilantro
20 wonton wrappers
2 TB oil
In a saute pan heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the zucchini and shitake mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add the sherry vinegar and soy sauce and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to about room temperature. Mix in the cilantro.
Take the mixture and fill a little dollop in each wonton wrapper. Use a little bit of water to close up the wrapper in your preferred method (I like to make them into triangles in the first fold and then pull together the triangle edges to make little "bags").
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Once very hot add a single layer of the dumplings. Cook until the bottoms are brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Then pour in 1/2-3/4 c. of water and cover the pan to steam the dumplings, about 7-8 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and serve.

Friday, July 17, 2009

BBQ Beef Brisket, Bok Choy Cole Slaw, Lime-Basil Potato Salad

It really is finally starting to feel like summer around the city. The endless rain stopped and we've had some beautiful weather. Great weather to spend outdoors enjoying the parks and barbecuing. If I only had a grill.
We do take picnics to the park often, though. Some coffee and pastries or sandwiches. Then we'll lounge around and enjoy the clouds, smell of the grass and the breeze. Some days in Prospect Park, you can almost forget that you are in the big city.
The coming of summer has brought about that craving for BBQ. As Kansas City-ans, it's hard to find BBQ that lives up to our standards, but this meal was a pretty good substitute with a couple of new takes on old themes. I'm especially in love with the Bok Choy Cole slaw and have been devouring the leftovers like mad.
I want to send a quick shout-out to the new Franklin Ave. flea market open on Saturdays this summer. If you live in my neck of the woods, check it out! It's where I found the BBQ sauce for the brisket, courtesy of the Pour Gourmet.

BBQ Beef Brisket
1 1.75lb beef brisket
salt and pepper
2 TB cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
3/4 c. chopped onions
2 bottles lager
1 1/2 c. BBQ sauce

Preheat the oven to 325.
Salt and pepper all sides of the brisket well. Heat the cooking oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat and when hot brown the brisket on all sides (about 3-4 minutes each). Remove the meat from the pan and add the carrots, celery and onions to the hot oil. Cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Return the brisket to the pan and add the 2 bottles of lager. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover then pan tightly and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then flip the brisket over and return to the oven. Cook until fork tender, about another hour to hour and a half. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then remove the meat to a platter and shred. Place shredded meat into a large saute pan and add the BBQ sauce. Cook over medium heat until heated through. Serve over toasted country bread.

Bok Choy Cole Slaw
3 small heads of bok choy
3 carrots, shredded
1/2 c. finely minced onions
6 garlic scapes, chopped
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 t. celery salt
1/2 t. ground mustard
1 t. sesame oil
1 TB sugar
1/4 t. pepper

Chop the bok choy into thin shreds. Toss with the carrots, onions and garlic scapes. In a separate bowl mix together the vinegars, celery salt, ground mustard, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. Combine the dressing and the vegetables and then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Lime Basil Potato Salad
3 c. small red potatoes
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. lime basil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Scrub the small potatoes and cut into large bite size pieces. Place in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until tender, about 12-14 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
While the potatoes are cooking, blend together the olive oil, lime basil, salt and pepper in a food processor. Toss this oil with the potatoes to serve.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pork Belly Pizza

I've been feeling so inspired lately. A lot of it has to do with some great conversations and idea exchanging with a fellow food minded friend. And the rest comes from my fellow food bloggers. I'm constantly impressed by the variety, creativity and passion of this ever-growing group of people. Every time I go through my blogger I am hit by sparks of new ideas and reminded why I love food. Thank you so much. Thanks to some of this inspiration there are some big things in the works. I hope to be able to share some of it with you soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this pizza recipe. Full of rich flavors and a little fancy looking at first, but once you dig in you'll realize it's all about comfort. I promise this is worth the time it takes to make.

Pork Belly Pizza
(makes 2 -12" pizzas*)

1 pork belly
salt and pepper
2 TB cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
about 3 1/2 c. red wine

2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1 1/2 c. milk
6 oz. goat cheese
salt and pepper

1/4 c. chopped chives
1 1/2 c. chopped mushrooms
1 c. chopped or baby arugula
shaved parmesan cheese

To cook the pork belly: Rub with salt and pepper and plenty of cumin. Sear on all sides over medium high heat in 2 TB oil. Remove the meat and then add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan and add the wine (should at least cover about 1/2 way up the sides of the pork). Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and place in a 350 degree oven. Cook until very tender. I've found that cooking it about 50 minutes then flipping it over and cooking another 50 minutes is just about perfect. Allow to cool before chopping up about 1 c. or so to use on pizzas.

For the goat cheese mornay sauce: In a medium saucepan heat butter and flour over medium heat. In a small saucepan on a separate burner slowly heat the milk, being careful not to boil/burn. Once the butter has melted with the flour cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. It should be fairly thick, but if it is too much so add a little more milk to thin it out. Add the goat cheese and stir until melted and well incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

For the pizzas: Preheat oven to 500. If not using a pizza stone, spread a little olive oil onto 2 baking sheets. Spread 1 pizza dough onto each sheet. Spread each pizza with some of the mornay sauce. Sprinkle on chopped pork belly, mushrooms, and chives. Place in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until crust is crispy and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven and top with the arugula and shaved parmesan to serve.

*You will more than likely have leftovers of things from making these 2 pizzas. You can make more pizzas if you are cooking for more people, but this is what I did with them: Cook pasta and drain. Set aside. In a saucepan, heat some of the fatty/wine liquid from cooking the pork belly (along with some of the mirepoix) over medium high heat. Add chopped mushrooms and chopped pork belly and cook a few minutes. Stir in the mornay sauce and cook until all comes together and is heated through. Toss this sauce with the pasta and serve, topped with some extra parm and chopped chives if you would like.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters

Really one of my favorite parts about summer is summer squash. I live for when these things come in season. I know a lot of people don't think they have a lot of flavor, but they are one of my favorite vegetables. I love them raw with a little ranch or sauteed with oregano and topped with mozzarella cheese. I love them roasted and/or stuffed. And I love all of the varieties (especially the patty pans. Oh, god, the patty pans. Mmmm. Wait for a patty pan recipe coming up).

When I picked up some zucchini at the market the other day, I wasn't sure what exactly to do with it. I did a quick Google search for zucchini recipes and came up with fritters. But what is better than a zucchini fritter? A zucchini fritter with lots of ricotta cheese and puffed up nice and fluffy. Crispy, light, airy, rich, refreshing--it doesn't get much better than this. Plus, I discovered that if you have leftovers you can heat them on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees and they will taste practically as good as right when they come out of the oil.

Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters
1 c. ricotta cheese
1 c. shredded zucchini
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. flour
oil for frying

Heat 4" of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. It will need to reach about 350 degrees before you start frying.
Mix together the remaining ingredients. You may need to add a little more or less flour to get the right consistency (smooth, but not too runny). Once the oil is hot enough, drop the batter by small tablespoonfuls into the oil (try to get the spoons as close to the oil as possible so the oil doesn't splash when you drop the batter in). Do only a few fritters at the time so as to not overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side and then remove to a paper towel-covered plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the fritters immediately.

(Note: If you have leftovers, refrigerate. To reheat, turn the oven to 400 degrees and place fritters on a baking sheet. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and hot.)