Sep 222017
 
plated mushroom soup with chanterelles garnish

plated mushroom soup with chanterelles garnish

mushrooms for mushroom soup

mushrooms for mushroom soup

Again I proved myself correct, I cannot stand to follow recipes. While trawling instagram I I saw a post for Jamie Oliver’s 5 ingredient mushroom soup and that was all it took. Unable to find that recipe I used another mushroom soup recipe. Utterly underwhelmed with the recipe I began working from, let me give you an idea of how I made my mushroom soup.

Ingredients

Jamie Oliver’s recipe calls for crimini mushrooms only. I find this odd when there’s such a great variety of mushrooms to work with and we all know they’re one of the most nutritional foods we can eat.  The mushrooms I used included oyster, portabello, crimini, shitaki & a few chanterells & about 2 Ts of dried porcini I re-hydrated with 1C of boiling water. After  about a half hour I strained the soaking liquid through a fine sieve lined with a double layer of cheese cloth.  I added this into the simmering broth

I find slicing mushrooms an absolute joy. Prepping them, just as much fun. I never wash mushrooms, some I remove the outer layer from the cap and snip the tough bottom of the stem off, then I slice away to my hearts content. JO’s recipe calls for a red onion – diced. I happened to have a red onion, I diced half of that. I also added a few thinly sliced garlic cloves. I prepared about 5 Cs of vegetable broth from a bullion cube & boiling water.

Short of adding of a good dollop of cream, currently I’m using Mexican Crema, it’s a bit more reasonable & the exact same thing as creme fraiche, to well sauteed mushrooms, onions

& a sliced or minced garlic clove or two I splashed it all with a good jerk of Outerbridges Sherry Pepper sauce, my absolute favorite food additive and a few showers of my Grain moon eclipse blend Salt of D Earth. Should you not be as much a nutter for Outerbridges Sherry Pepper sauce as me, a splash of Marsala, brandy, standard white wine, or a good squirt of lemon juice will help brighten the mix.

 

Begin by cooking the mushrooms & onion with a knob of butter or olive oil if you wish for a good 20 minutes or until all the mushroom liquids cook off, then hit this mixture with a shot of the wine, or lemon juice, then add say, four cups of a broth or stock and if you have it, the strained porcini mushroom broth , fresh thyme. Turn the heat down & let this simmer for a good 15 – 20 mins. Turn the heat off  & let the mixture cool before adding a good dollop or 2 of the creme, heavy cream, half & half or milk.  JO’s recipes calls for making a cornflour roux, which I did but I think this is completely unnecessary.

 

Transfer in batches to a blender or use a wand to emulsify.

Serve with any number of garnishes, parsley, truffle oil, croutons, or maybe chanterelles or any mushroom you wish – garnishes – what a great an infinite topic that could be for a cookbook. I get so many iDeas each and every day.

Must jump now in hopes of capturing a few of my fleeting thoughts.

Oh, this made a nice amount of soup. I think I got 6-8 servings out of it.

 

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Aug 062017
 
Departure shot

I ARRIVED

Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club

Now SEA Yah

I was so wishing to get to Bermuda during the America Cup challenge, I kept putting it out there; to various friends that were there and of course the universe. Word started to get back to me that the yacht I pinch-hit on as a Chef a year or so ago was down there, I should see if they may have room for me aboard. I kid you not, the next day I got an email from the Captain replying to one of our first email strings from about a year ago asking if I could be in Bermuda on the 26th or 27th to help on the Dlivery back to Newport.  It didn’t take much to cover my bases, book a OW flt for a noon arrival in to BDA, for Mon. the 26th.

Crew Description & Drama

The Captain’s phone went straight to voicemail when I called to say I was at the gate for the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club docks when sure enough, I noticed a swaggering silhouette to be that of my Captain’s. He offered to take my bag, I kept both. Within a moment he warned me of a great deal of drama going on. I’ll spare you the drama short of a few fun details like; the 27 year old spit fire blond with a ponytail nearly down to her waist pawns herself off as a yachting Chef had a fight with the owner’s wife the night before she was jumping ship for a wedding in S.Africa. They were both drunk.  The first mate, another young hotshot was kicked off earlier in the week, for drinking and sassing off at the owner which further pissed off the outgoing Chef because they had a thing for one another, the owner’s side kick friend for over thirty year, who the owner’s wife can’t stand now because he divorced her best friend, the new first mates late arrival whose seventy two year old, bearded, bobble headed, crooked frame, dungarees & torn commercial fishing T-shirt, proletariat looks also seemed to rub the hungover owner’s wife the wrong way.

I did my best to skirt the kerfuffles by being in a conversation with Phil in the cockpit over a Maker’s Mark with one cube as I began to learn the details of the trip, the players aboard and more about the drama. The crew would be the Owner who’s a never satisfied, demanding dickhead and his dumb-ass side kick friend who’s always dreamed of ‘bluewater sailing’ but fears of being seasick have deterred the venture but his current single, midlife crisis status, compounded with the fact that he’s so useless he can’t even make himself a bowl cereal or toast makes him a demanding dead weight and the perfect specimen for a control freak to create a monster out of. The Captain, with movie star looks, the perfect stand in for a Central Casting’s Captain: snow white hair & beard, sparkling blue eyes, a permanent smile. The skin on his forearms is so sun scorched it looks like blackened leather. He’s thin & wiry like a worm which is what the fire plug Napoleon complex owner calls him.  He owned and ran a legendary Jazz club in Maine adventures of which most of his fantastical stories are told about. He was an Air-force pilot and has done more than 60 deliveries of this route exactly, BermuDA to NewPorT. He’s a perfectly reasonable guy, highly regarded & the mate on this trip, who scared me initially because of his rough demeanor I came to love  in a very short time.   A 72 year old, native of Rhode Island, Navy veteran, he claims, “I don’t know those yachting folk, I’m not into yachting, I just do deliveries.” The stats for one of his trips is this:  37′ boat, 72 days at sea, Philippines to SEAttle. Bobby’s three day a week job is as the security guard at the Middletown dump which he likens it to being like Christmas for him.

Provisions

I could go on writing about these characters for days and I hope to at some point but I’ll stay the course and share some Sea Eats which is why I’m writing here but one more little bitch…it wasn’t until we’d shoved off from the fuel dock in Hamilton and we were underway motoring to St. Georges to clear out that I started to root around in the fridges. Oyy…what a nightmare. The Chef who had been on board for nearly a month and provisioned for cocktail parties for an average of nine, daily. One whole fridge was transformed into a wine cooler, where I fished out two, four pound zip lock bags of the worst tasting chili ever, (which I was asked to try and doctor up) 5 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, 2 packets of smoked salmon, a zip lock bag of BBQ ribs the owner said also had a horrible taste to, 1 bag of left over strips of filet mignon and Oh, I kid you not, no less than 5 packages of bacon, two of which were opened and half used.  In another fridge were commercial size bottles of dill spears & jalapeno peppers? garlic dents in olive oil & mushrooms all floating in sodium benzonate & bisolfite liquid, Romaine lettuce, a few usable stalks of celery on a chipped away head I’m sure for Bloody Mary’s, a head of cauliflower, a small plastic bag of shredded carrots, Brussels sprouts, which the owner told me if I cooked on board he’d throw me over – so why in  hell were they on board in the first place?   The bread cabinet had 4 or 6 English muffins, various bags of half loafs of sliced, whole wheat, sourdough, rye breads, hot-dog, hamburger rolls & some kind of white Italian roll and 4 unopened pacs of a half dozen bagels which prompted me to dig further in the ‘dairy’ fridge where I found 2 packs of smoked salmon, 2 small tubs of creamed cheese – one prepared with capers, an unopened plain one & Needless to say, the boat was ill provisioned for a delivery

Tuesday morning was a three ring circus on board with the Chef trying to get her unzipped hockey bag for a goalie off the boat while the wife, whom the Chef had a fight with the night before also prepared for her departure.  Coffee was made, logistics to get the wife to the airport, return of the moped, fueling up for the delivery but for provisions – we should be fine really. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when the Captain told me we desperately needed paper towel and handed me the boat credit card. The Chef yelled over her shoulder as she jumped ship, “Oh, and maybe some heavy cream which the Captain likes on his cereal and some greens & American cheese. I couldn’t get out of the mess fast enough and get to a grocery story because there is NO WAY I was going to be on Bermuda and not get me some Outerbridges Sherry Pepper Sauce . I walked to the grocery store with the only direction being, stay to the left, pass the AC bldg and you’ll find it. Grocery shopping helps me feel like I can bring some order to any maelstrom. I have a whole story just about grocery shopping here, how I miraculously got a pint of heavy cream & the ride back to the RHADC – but that’ll be for another time.

SEA EATS

Once we were underway to St. Georges to clear out with 600 liters of diesel had, & a case of diet coke I was ordered to have on board I whipped up what I refer to as Bat Mitzvah bagels,

Bat Mitzvah style bagels

Bat Mitzvah style bagel

served with cold OJ & a carafe of strong Starbuck French roast.

Here’s a couple of things I made on board, flat meat sandwiches, w/greens, relishes, mustards on various breads, hummus & crudite, a tomato, crouton & feta salad. I made a rice with haricot vert, asparagus, onion and bits of left over filet mignon and an arugula salad. Fried egg & bacon sandwiches, orange juice, carafes of very strong Starbucks French roast, my made up Chicken at Sea which every one liked except the Owner.

Here’s a quick ‘recipe’ for my offshore cook-off Chx at Sea: cooked off medium diced boneless chicken breast, in a court-boullion  onion, celery, shredded carrots. I tossed 2 peeled, diced granny smith apples in I noticed in a basket in the lower salon. I let this cook down and simmer for nearly an hour then added half a bag of egg noodles & another 2 cups of water to the mix and served over rice. Captain would have loved it more if we had his Rolands chutney, but non was to be found on board. The pot was empty when I woke for my 7AM call. The owner made it a point that he wasn’t really in the mood for chicken & I should make my way into the deep freezer and give him an inventory of all that’s in there.

AyAy sir…in order to get into the deep freezer the cushions from one of the galley banquets needs to be removed, the top which weighs at least 10 pounds is removed my pulling on two lines at diagonal ends of the top. Low & behold here was a mother load of meat. I pulled out a 7.5# pack of boneless NY strips, 4-5 #s of ground beef, and a pork loin. I took all this out & threw the horrible chili in there & 3 packs of bacon.

So after whipping up the Chicken at Sea dish I was back at the stove thawing out the ground beef & I made a Bolognese after digging around in the salon storage area where I found one, 12 oz can of stewed tomatoes, 2 nice packets of organic gemelli pasta but not a can of marinara on board. The late Chef’s bloody mary mix was a good substitute. This, a Ceasar style salad which I made when the guys asked for some garlic bread with their Bolognese, dark chocolate pound cake with blue berries & cream shut him up for that evening.

But really all I want to share about here is the tuna tartare I got to make for my friends, on land & would have made for Owner Bligh who caught a yellow fin earlier our last morning offshore. Instead he got this pan seared, black & white sesame seed coated tuna loin served on an onion & garlic rice pilaf &  blanched asparagus with a lemon butter & toasted shallots.

seared tuna with sesame seeds

seared tuna with sesame seeds

Asparagus w/lemon & toasted shallots

Asparagus w/lemon & toasted shallots

Again about intention & wishes, I so very much wanted to make a tuna tartare, the fortunate thing is I got to make it for grateful friends.

I want to end this piece with a line Bobby told me he was told by the long time owner of The Black Pearl, Barclay, “Good people like ships rot in port.”

With that, I’ll sea ya!

 

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Jul 172017
 

Because it’s taking me much longer than I thought to write the Sea Eats, Mustang Galley piece I’m going to post this quick & easy piece for a potato salad with an olive tapenade. Short of the potato cooking trick, a recipe is barely needed.

Friday I listened to Melissa Clark on the Leonard Lopade show, not like it was my profession because I was somewhat distracted by sorting laundry and my Friday cleaning routine but I was inspired by much of what I heard, especially about her yogurt based dressing, very smart but making your own creme fraiche and yogurt – man you’re blessed to have that kind of time and like one of the callers brought up – Mexican cremas – ROCK – but that’s another piece all together.

If you know your shit and give a damned about potato salad any (serious) cook knows it takes  a bit to get the perfect potato for potato salad, I know the trick and now you will too.

Here’s how I made the New Potatoes & Tapenade Salad

Bring 1.5-2# of New or yukon gold potatoes to a boil starting with cold water. When the water’s come to a boil, salt the water and bring the heat down to a simmer & cover the pot. It’s best to   test how tender the potato is with a paring knife through the potato but don’t feel compelled to test before 8 minutes. Today’s perfect batch of potatoes simmered for about 15 mins after they had come to a boil. The potatoes, even if you cut them will hold their shape when they’re cooked this way.

I made the tapenade while the potatoes cooked by blending the ingredients below in a mini food processor:

1/4# of pitted mixed olives, Greek, French & Italian

4 lg Castelvetrano olives olives

1 Ts + of capers

4 – 6 garlic marinated sundried tomatoes

1 T of olive oil through the drip spout of the food processor

Fresh summer herbs are great, especially Italian flat leaf parsley but I did not have this on hand and I can’t stand paying for herbs

Once the potatoes were perfectly cooked I gently poured them into a colander in the sink, then I gently poured them back into the pot they had cooked in and this is where I cut them in half with a paring knife. I let them rest no more than 5 minutes before I gently folded the tapenade into them. I do wish I had parsley, but the warm potatoes served on a bed of lettuce worked just fine.

The following day when they were cold from the fridge I poured in a splash of a sweet Vietnamese vinaigrette, a small dollop of mayo and tossed them in a good sized bowl with a slotted spoon which I then served – to myself as a side dish with over easy egg sandwich

Great snack! Then I ran errands.

 

 

 

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Jul 152017
 

WORK IN PROGRESS

I ARRIVED

Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club

Now SEA Yah

I was so wishing to get to Bermuda during the America Cup challenge, I kept putting it out there; to various friends that were there and of course the universe. Word started to come back that the yacht I pinch-hit on as a Chef a year or so ago was down there, I should see if they may have room for me aboard. I kid you not, the next day I got an email from the Captain, Phil, replying to one of our first email strings from about a year ago asking if I could be in Bermuda on the 26th or 27th to help on the Dlivery back to Newport.  It didn’t take much to cover my bases, book a OW flt for a noon arrival in to BDA, for Mon. the 26th.

Crew Description & Drama

Phil’s phone went straight to voicemail when I called to say I was at the gate for the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club docks when sure enough, I noticed a swaggering silhouette to be that of my Captain’s. He offered to take my bag, I kept both. Within a moment he warned me of a great deal of drama going on. I’ll spare you the drama short of a few fun details like; the 27 year old spit fire blond with a ponytail nearly down to her waist pawns herself off as a yachting Chef had a fight with the owner’s wife the night before she was jumping ship for a wedding in S.Africa. They were both drunk.  The first mate, another young hotshot was kicked off earlier in the week, for drinking and sassing off at the owner which further pissed off the outgoing Chef because they had a thing for one another, the owner’s side kick friend for over thirty year, who the owner’s wife can’t stand now because he divorced her best friend, the new first mates late arrival whose seventy two year old, bearded, bobble headed, crooked frame, dungarees & torn commercial fishing T-shirt, proletariat looks also seemed to rub the hungover owner’s wife the wrong way.

I did my best to skirt the kerfuffles by being in a conversation with Phil in the cockpit over a Maker’s Mark with one cube as I began to learn the details of the trip, the players aboard and more about the drama. The crew would be the Owner who’s a never satisfied, demanding dickhead and his dumb-ass side kick friend who’s always dreamed of ‘bluewater sailing’ but fears of being seasick have deterred the venture but his current single, midlife crisis status, compounded with the fact that he’s so useless he can’t even make himself a bowl cereal or toast makes him a demanding dead weight and the perfect specimen for a control freak to create a monster out of. The Captain, Phil, with movie star looks, the perfect stand in for a Central Casting’s Captain: snow white hair & beard, sparkling blue eyes, a permanent smile. The skin on his forearms is so sun scorched it looks like blackened leather. He’s thin & wiry like a worm which is what the fire plug Napoleon complex owner calls him.  Phil owned and ran the Sandpiper, the legendary Jazz club in Maine adventures of which most of his fantastical stories are told about. He was an Air-force pilot and has done more than 60 deliveries of this route exactly, BermuDA to NewPorT. He’s a perfectly reasonable guy, highly regarded & his mate Bobby, who scared me initially because of his rough demeanor who in such a short time I came to love.  A 72 year old, native Rhode Islander, Navy veteran, he claims, “I don’t know those yachting folk, I’m not into yachting, I just do deliveries.” The stats for one of his trips is this:  37′ boat, 72 days at sea, Philippines to SEAttle. Bobby’s three day a week job is as the security guard at the Middletown dump which he likens it to being like Christmas for him.

Provisions

I could go on writing about these characters for days and I hope to at some point but I’ll stay the course and share some Sea Eats which is why I’m writing here but one more little bitch…it wasn’t until we’d shoved off from the fuel dock in Hamilton and we were underway motoring to St. Georges to clear out that I started to root around in the fridges. Oyy…what a nightmare. Sadie had been on board for nearly a month and provisioned for cocktail parties for an average of nine, daily. One whole fridge was transformed into a wine cooler, where I fished out two, four pound zip lock bags of the worst tasting chili ever, (which I was asked to try and doctor up) 5 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, 2 packets of smoked salmon, a zip lock bag of BBQ ribs the owner said also had a horrible taste to,  1 bag of left over strips of filet mignon and Oh, I kid you not, no less than 5 packages of bacon, two of which were opened and half used.  In another fridge were commercial size bottles of dill spears & jalapeno peppers? garlic dents in olive oil & mushrooms all floating in sodium benzonate & bisolfite liquid, Romaine lettuce, a few usable stalks of celery on a chipped away head I’m sure is there for her Bloody Mary’s, a head of cauliflower, a small plastic bag of shredded carrots, Brussels sprouts, which the owner told me if I cooked on board he’d throw me over – so why in the hell were they on board in the first place?   The bread cabinet had 4 or 6 English muffins, various bags of half loafs of sliced, whole wheat, sourdough, rye breads, hot-dog, hamburger rolls & some kind of white Italian roll and 4 unopened pacs of a half dozen bagels which prompted me to dig further in the ‘dairy’ fridge where I found 2 small tubs of creamed cheese – one prepared with capers, an unopened plain one & 2 packs of smoked salmon.  Needless to say, the boat was ill provisioned for a delivery

Tuesday morning was a three ring circus on board as everyone started to come to. The Chef trying to get her ‘hockey’ bag which couldn’t zipper off board.  Coffee being made, logistics to get the wife to the airport, return the moped, get gas but provisions – we should be fine really. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when the Captain told me we desperately needed paper towel and handed me the boat credit card. I couldn’t get out of the mess fast enough and get to a grocery story because all I wanted was to get me some Outerbridges Sherry Pepper Sauce . I walked to the grocery store with the only direction being, stay to the left, pass the AC bldg and you’ll find it. in Hamilton early Tuesday morning to get 4-6 rolls of & heavy cream which the Capt. likes on his cereal – maybe some greens & American cheese I was told as I was already walking down the dock.

SEA EATS

Here’s a couple of things I made on board, flat meat sandwiches, w/greens, relishes, mustards on various breads, hummus & crudite, a tomato, crouton & feta salad. I made a rice with haricot vert, asparagus, onion and bits of left over filet mignon and an arugula salad. Fried egg & bacon sandwiches, orange juice, carafes of very strong Starbucks French roast, my made up Chicken at Sea which every one liked except the Owner. Here’s a brief description of Chx at Sea: cooked off medium diced boneless chicken breast, in a court-boullion  onion, celery, shredded carrots. I threw 2 diced granny smith apples in I noticed on a basket in one of the salons. I let this cook down and simmer for nearly an hour then added half a bag of egg noodles & another 2 cups of water to the mix and served over rice. Phil would have loved it if we had his Rolands chutney, but now – non on board. He ate a full bowl. Bobby loved and so did dead weight Frank. The owner said he doesn’t eat chicken or certainly wasn’t in the mood for that so I should make my way into the deep freezer and give him an inventory of all that’s in there.

AyAy sir…in order to get into the deep freezer the cushions from one of the galley banquets needed to be removed, the top which weighs at least 10 pounds is removed my pulling on two lines at diagonal ends of the top. Low & behold here was a mother load of meat. I pulled out a 7.5# packet of boneless NY strips, 4-5 #s of ground beef, and a pork loin. I took all this out & threw the horrible chili in there & 3 packs of bacon.

So after whipping up the Chicken at Sea dish I was back at the stove thawing out the ground beef & I made a bolognese after digging around in the salon storage area where I found 1 12 oz can of stewed tomatoes, 2 nice packets of gemelli pasta but not a can of marinara on board. Sadie’s bloody mary mix was a good substitute. This & dark chocolate loud cake with blue berries shut him up

All I really want to share here is the tuna tartare I got to make for my friends

 

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Jun 172017
 

This is the 2nd apple I found on the street this week. I found the first one on East Houston street outside of Whole Foods – understandable, not that this one isn’t either. I found this second apple on my way back from the Union Square Farmers Market where I had picked up better than 2 pounds of all organic, just dug out of the ground russet potatoes, because they looked like they’d be so yummy. Right then & there I knew I’d be making a pan sized potato pancake with a 4-5 minute egg or two for my lunch that afternoon.

When I found the 2nd apple under a bench in one of the East Village’s community housing development it too was of the Delicious genius or species of apple, for me an inedible lot. Because I can’t eat a Delicious apple the first apple I found was still rolling around in the bowl at the end of my kitchen table. I’ll spare you the list of modifiers I have for a bad apple.  What I could certainly do is to make a fine apple & onion marmalade which would be a wonderful topping for my Sunday morning pan sized potato pancake for breakfast.

Recipe:

2 Apples – peeled, cored/Dseeded, and cut into chunks

1 Onion – medium dice

I cooked the chunks down with a jolt of pineapple juice, because I have it, Pinot Grigio & a splash of white balsamic. Most people will definitely add sugar. I don’t. That’s about that folks.

For the potato pancake, I simply grated 2 good sized russet potatoes & tossed in half an onion I diced I had in the fridge. I salted the grated potatoes & onion well, stirred it well & let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  Friday afternoon I had one pan sized potato pancake w/two soft-medium boiled eggs. I’m going to make the apple onion marmalade now for my breakfast tomorrow.

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May 282017
 
oatmeal sundae made w/oatmeal creme brûlée
oatmeal sundae and the NYSunday Times

oatmeal sundae

I guess I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for oatmeal’. Certainly not as a kid tho.

For my birthday many moons ago I hosted, an Oatmeal Sundae ™, party at The Pink Pony which unfortunately no longer exists but was truly a very special space. The famed owner Lucien, let me set up my own pots on hot plates and served well over 2 dozen friends in his bowls & silverware in the back, library, screening room area. I had steal cut oatmeal made with water & one batch with milk & many toppings – the usual suspects, yogurt, honey, toasted walnuts, bananas, & berries. I swear, a few of my friends still talk about this to this day and will most likely love seeing that I’ve written about it here.

I made oatmeal the first season of Recipe$ 4 $urvival when it was on MNN. To that porridge I added peanut butter & raisins to the mix. One of the calls I got in response to this episode went something like this, “We were going to have pizza but now we’re having oatmeal in our house instead.” Recipe$ 4 Survival was a huge hit on MNN for a good long while, maintaining an unprecedented prime-time slot. Here’s a link to the youtube compilation I put together of a few greatest hits episodes.

But then, just last weekend when I was pursuing the breakfast menu where my extended family were gathering for one last meal following  my nieces Bat Mitzvah celebration the Oatmeal Creme Brûlée jumped off the page/screen at me.  I texted to my bro that unfortunately I would not make it to breakfast but I’d be making Oatmeal Creme Brûlée in my house. So this is exactly what I did the other night.

I halved the recipe I picked to springboard from.

Ingredients:

Milk, 2 Eggs, Sugar, Cornstarch, Butter & soaked Steel Cut Oatmeal

What I did: 

While I warmed 1 C of milk I mixed the egg white of 1 egg & 1 full egg with 1/4 a C sugar, 1 T of corn starch

The milk is warmed just until you see steam then tempered this into the eggs, sugar & cornstarch mixture. Mix well. I did this with a whisk in about the time you can read this, never mind having to pull out some crazy equipment.

Pour the tempered milk & egg mixture back into a sauce-pot & warm over a minimum flame until thick & bubbling, stir in a pad of butter, I used 1 T.  Mix well until you have crème. Pour into another bowl & cover with plastic wrap directly on the crėme & set aside.

Make the oatmeal:

I brought 1/2C of milk & 1/2C of water to a boil, added cinnamon – because I have it, a dash of salt and 1 cup plus a bit more of steel cut oats I rehydrated the night before. You’ll have oatmeal in under or about 5 minutes.

The recipe I ‘made my own’ called for layering the oatmeal, then berries, then the creme into ramekins & baking them off. I was having none of that. I pour the entire batch of creme right into the warm perfectly cooked steel cut oatmeal. Mixed well and served topped with sliced banana & toasted walnuts.

 

 

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May 102017
 
Ivy transplant

Ivy transplant with help from Root & Bone benches

FRESH was the prompt for the first story I got to tell at The Moth . For the better part of the day I thought how I’d craft my story of finding RhODy with this inspirational direction: Prepare a five-minute story about the crispest and cleanest of life’s offerings. A new zip code, spouse, haircut or nose. Out with the stale, and in with the freshly baked. Tales of reinvention, from love life shakeups to a test drive of the new and improved you!

But then…the way best laid plans go – askew,  I had a fun little happening later that afternoon I thought for sure would surely constitute as a Fresh tale…SO

I finished showing a nearly $2M 1BR, 1.5 bath apt when I found myself ogling & shunning tourists taking selfies in front of various greenery sculptures and the ivy walls of the 1Hotel on  Ave. & 58th St.  when I noticed ‘Men at work’. This I paid attention to. A guy in a medium sized cherry picker was replacing winter weary small pots of ivy with new ones. A few guys on the ground were shoveling the discarded pots of ivy into large heavy duty, industrial strength garbage bags. Now I stopped and approached the Shoveler.

“Hey, can I ask you something? Is that ivy there destined for landfill?  I’ve been looking for ivy for the past few weeks. You’ve got to hear this story. He stops to hear me out while the other guy on the ground continues to gather up the discarded pots the guy in cherry picker drops down while replacing the new pots of ivy onto the corner wall of the hotel.

I begin; I’ve had a mourning dove’s nest on my kitchen window sill for the past two years now, in the East Village! Imagine the surprise, joy, and wonder I experienced the first time, seeing two eggs in the nest, observing the birds, taking turns sitting on the eggs,  I read online and called the Audubon society to learn all that I could about mourning doves and of course their presence was known and followed on my Facebook page.

But just the other morning I noticed a mourning dove marching on my windowsill and he flew away but what I also noticed was that my once ivy covered window was now crystal clear, stripped naked and sterile of the lush (invasive) ivy that grew on the east, garden facing wall of my building. The new uber management company repointed the building over the building. Sad, but truth behold, I hadn’t’ noticed the absence of the ivy until ‘my dove’ marched away.  Now I was enraged. I talked about it for days, “I’m gonna get a window box, I’m gonna grow ivy, etc, etc. This was all going on around my birthday which was just last week.

Then I noticed this morning that a friend placed a medium sized terra cotta window box with some soil in it on my windowsill while I was away this weekend. This morning I talked all about the morning dove appearing last week and flying off and I’d be getting ivy – post hast.

I didn’t get as far into my ‘story’ as I have here before the guys started picking out ‘good pots’ of ivy. I was being given them even before I went into telling him all that I just shared with you. They asked how many I wanted. I asked for 3 or four but now I needed a bag to cary them in.

The guy that sorta heard my story out pointed out a small deli just across 58th St. The coolest little deli I’ve never been in before. The deli was bustling. Now it’s my favorite. Construction workers, secretaries if they call ’em that any more but the girls helping behind the counters were hipsters, tatooed, clearly not Americans and working at a fever pitch all with smiles on, enjoying themselves and their customers. When I asked for a bag, of the lead coordinator behind the counter scene she never stopped what she was doing and with a smile asked how she could help me and happily gave me a bag.

When I returned the guy that ‘sorta heard my story out’ had a neat pile of about a half dozen ivy plants. I asked the name of the nursery they worked for and how I’d thank them with a mention in a piece I’d write about this when the guy who hadn’t been much help but didn’t do anything to deter the goings on said, “Hey, make sure you mention you didn’t get new ivy.”

I assured him that!

ivy on the window sill

ivy on the window sill

 

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Apr 282017
 

image

Nut loaf

A friend who bought a half dozen bottles of Salt of D Earth as holiday gifts wrote to say, “how the RhODy blend really pulled her nut loaf together.”  I wrote back immediately saying, “NUT LOAF, what do you mean nut loaf? How have I never heard of a nut loaf? You’ve gotta talk me through this one.” Within minutes she texted back saying that she’s never used a recipe to make a nut loaf & she’s been making them for years but she did include a link for a recipe in her text none the less.

I checked the recipe in the link knowing full well I too would be ‘Making it my own”.

I hemmed & hawed about whether or not this nut loaf could really constitute being a true Recipe 4 Survival since a majority of the ingredients are not basic staples and some of them are quite expensive, for instance organic nuts.  I knew I’d love it, I wanted to make something I’ve never tried before and the play on words that a nut loaf is NUTritious made it all worthwhile.

Now that I’ve made it, nut loaf is a perfect recipe for survival. So here’s the rough math: the ingredients used to make a 9″ loaf cost about $18. At least 10 hearty slices can be had from the 9″ loaf which I know would suffice a family of 4 with left overs, so YES, nut loaf is a Recipe 4 Survival.  A slice, pan-seared makes a killer sandwich – especially since I used up my ancho chili infused maple syrup roasted butternut squash like a jam on the toast.  It freezes & reheats really well and it’s so NUTritious! IMG_8885

The ingredient’s & quantities called for seemed like overkill to me and I could tell what they were calling for and the final product would be very forgiving short of picking up mushrooms & cottage cheese I made my first nutloaf with basic staples I have at home.

If you happen to have left over or cooked rice, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 50-60 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make my nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs cooked (short grain) brown rice – 1 cup of short grain brown rice yielded .

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped.

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

1/2 large Onion – diced

sherry – splash/1/4 cup.

1 C Almonds – toasted & 1 C Walnuts – toasted

3 or 4 eggs – beaten

1 C – cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese

1 C Grated cheese – Cheddar or Smoke Gouda

(Pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews – whatever your fancy. I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too)

I cooked 1 cup of short grain brown rice which I let toast lightly in the pan I sautéd the mushrooms in  then I added two cups of water, let that come to a boil for 5 mins. Turn the heat down, put a top on the pan and let the rice steam for a good 20 mins.

I pulsed to a fine chop 2 Portabello mushroom tops & 1 stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds & 1 C of walnuts I toasted each separately, a handful at a time in a small saute pan over a medium heat. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & the cooked rice    IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 4 eggs, & 1 cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese. The recipe called for 5 eggs & 1 Cup of the pot/farmer’s cheese. Believe me, if I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese, I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add the egg & cottage cheese and the sautéd mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well.  This is when I added about a 1/4# of grated smoked Gouda & handful of dried cranberries.  I think apple chunks would work nicely in the mix. Maybe in place of a cup of nuts?  There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877and decorated the top of the loaf. I used slices of apple. IMG_8881 Sliced mushrooms, a sprig of thyme, would look beautiful. I slid this into the preheated oven and let it cook for 50 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. The first time I made the nut loaf  it was so well received I scored big time as it took center field on the grazing table at a Superbowl party amongst a huge pot of vegetarian chili, cheesy nachos, traditional toppings, 2 different bowls of guacamole  & various dipping chips.

You too will score big time with this one. YUM.

 

 

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Apr 122017
 

Keep it seasonal, keep it green, keep it light

My arsenal of Passover eats are:

 cauliflower crust ‘pizza’, nut loaf and my sweet potato & string bean salad  They’re perfect dishes I hope will sustain you through the Passover week.

May these days of joy, rejuvenation, connecting with friends & family carry us through the year

Chag sameach, חַג שָׂמֵחַ, Happy holidays

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Apr 042017
 

snowmanformushbarley

Snow Day and Mushroom Barley soup go together well

I strategically made my way to the last car of the subway so that when I would emerge from being underground I’d be only a few yards from the entrance to the Whole Foods on Bowery & Houston.  Gathering the ingredients for my first ever, mushroom barley soup was all that was on my mind the entire subway ride but for some reason it was the carrots that were the standout ingredient for me.  I picked a perfect carrot for my soup from a heap of fantastic organic carrots & a handful each of: shiitake, cremini & button mushrooms. Then I was on to the bulk grain area to procure the barley. Being that this was the first time I was making mushroom barley soup, I was thrilled to find organic barley among the plethora of plastic silos filled with various rices, grains, beans, granola, etc.  that I did not know to look for pearl barley vs the barley that I happily watched fill the bag in the palm of my hand. At the cash register I declare the contents of the bag as hulled barley since I’d forgotten to weigh & price it at the bulk grains area.

The hulled barley took much longer to cook than pearl barley would which was a bit disappointing and reminded me of wild rice , which has never been a favorite of mine. One of my friends really liked the soup and liked the ‘snap’ of the very whole barley. Talk about a whole meal in a bowl. I toasted a thick slice of a good sour dough bread and rubbed that with a fresh garlic clove. I had this with pineapple juice & a splash of ginger beer  Very nutritional and comforting.

Here’s what I did to make the soup:

Ingredients:

1 – 2 Cs – mushroom stock/broth

1/2 # sliced mushrooms

1/2 a lg onion

2 Ts flour

1 C barley

4 – 6 Cs – veg broth

Baguette slices toasted & rubbed w/a garlic clove

What I did to make this: 

I brought at least about 6 cups of water to a boil in my kettle

I pencil cut the carrot. Very organic shape, quick & easy.

Sliced the stems of the shiitake and a fewmushrmstockpot of the button mushrooms and brought that to a simmer in about 2 cups of water and let that reduce over a medium to high flame or heat.

Then I methodically sliced the mushrooms.

Diced the medium sized onion.

Added the boiling water to a bowl with one all vegetarian bullion cube in it. Stir that around to make the broth.

Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot. Add the carrots & onions and stir well and cook for about 5 mins to soften these ingredients. I find this is best done with a top on between the ‘stirs’. Then add about a cup of dried barley and the 2 Ts of flour. Mix well to coat all ingredients in the pot. Lower the heat. Top on.

Strain the mushroom broth over a bowl and add this to the pot of veg, barley & flour mixture. msuhrmbarleypot

Then add another 2 or 3 cups of the broth. Stir well, lower the heat, Salt of D.Earth to taste, top on. Simmer. Stir occasionally. This soup took over an hour to cook before the barley was soft enough to serve & eat.

Most likely I’ll try this ‘recipe’ with pearl barley to see if it may cook in less time and to see how it tastes but I’m happy with another happy accident because I think working with the ‘hulled barley’ which has not been polished added a very earthy, hearty element to the dish. Pretty nice for a dish many expect to find & relish having short-ribs, flanken or brisket in.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 

 

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