Monday, October 24, 2011

Pickled Red Grapes

I've been on a nice pickling run lately with red onions, carrots, and I recently added grapes to the mix.  I originally tried them in a farro risotto at Perilla and was blown away by the sweet and sour taste. I came up with the recipe below on my own, but I'll try it next with a sprig of rosemary, ginger, brown sugar, and/or peppercorns.


1/2 cup - White Balsamic Vinegar (or White Wine Vinegar)
1/2 cup - Sugar
1 - Cinnamon Stick
1 cup - Red Grapes (or enough to fit a 8oz Ball Mason Jar)

1) Rinse, dry, and slice the nipple part of the grape off.
2) Put the grapes into a mason jar.
3) In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.
4) Pour the liquid over the grapes, close the jar, and put it in the fridge.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Nothing is nicer than having dinner done in less than 10 minutes (take that Rachael Ray!). I'm a bag fan of brown butter sauces since they are quick, easy, and delicious. This is my modified version of Mario Batali's recipe. 


5 tbsp - Unsalted Butter
15 - Sage leaves
1/2 - Lemon (juiced)
2oz - Pasta Cooking Water
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Parmigiano Reggiano

1) While your pasta cooks (cook it 1-2 minutes before the al dente cook time), melt the butter in a saute pan.
2) When the butter starts to turn golden brown, add the sage leaves and remove from heat.
3) Grate nutmeg over the pan and add lemon juice.
4) Reserve 2oz of the pasta cooking water. 
4) Drain the pasta and put it into the saute pan and return to heat.
5) Using a microplane, add the cheese and toss the pasta to coat.
6) Using a potato peeler, shave the cheese for presentation and serve.  
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yellow Rice with Chorizo

Being Puerto Rican, I have eaten rice my whole life (I think only the Japanese beat us in annual rice consumption).  I've gotten a little bored of rice and have been making more flavorful risottos and farro lately.  This all changed when I tried this "stew" rice recipe which packs a rich flavor punch.  Follow the recipe and don't stray on the ratios - I was thrown off because I always thought that the ratio of liquid to rice should be 1:1.  Aside from the taste, the yellowness of the rice wowed me (it didn't need sazon to give it color) and it does not need salt (shocker) because of the chicken stock.   


2 tbsp - Canola Oil 
4 links - Chorizo
2 - Garlic cloves (minced)
1 - Red onion (chopped)
1 - Yellow or Orange Bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 tsp - Turmeric
1/4 cup - White wine
28 oz - Can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
6 cups - Chicken stock (low sodium)
1 1/2 cups - Rice
1/2 cup - Frozen peas (thawed)
3 - Scallions (chopped)
2 tbsp - Cilantro (chopped)

1) In a large dutch over or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
2) Add the chorizo cook until browned on each side (10 minutes) and transfer to a plate. 
3) Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. 
4) Add the turmeric and cook for 30 seconds. 
5) Add the wine and boil over high heat until almost evaporated (3 minutes). 
6) Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Squeeze the tomatoes with tongs under the liquid to "chop", break them apart, and not lose their juices (be sure that you squeeze them under liquid or you will be cleaning tomato juice). 
7) Return the chorizo to the pot and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
8) In a medium pan, heat the remaining oil and add the rice. Stir so all of the rice gets coated with oil (1-2 minutes).
9) Add the rice into the dutch oven, cover partially, and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the rice is just tender and has absorbed most of the cooking liquid (25 minutes). 
10) Fold in and stir the peas, scallions, and cilantro. 
11) Remove the chorizo, cut into smaller pieces and add them back into the rice. 
12) Squeeze lime over the rice and serve. 
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Challah French Toast with Raisins

I've said it before - the only Food Network personality that I respect is Alton Brown.  Although he is quirky, he is super knowledgeable and his recipes seem tried and tested.  I made his French Toast recipe (with a few of my own tweaks and modifications) on back to back Sundays.  I'll probably try them with crushed Corn Flakes (or Frosted Flakes) next. 

1 cup - Half-and-half
3 - Eggs
2 tbsp - Honey (warmed in microwave for 20 seconds)
1/4 tsp - Kosher salt
4 Slices - Raisin Challah Bread (1/2 inch thick)
1/2 tsp - Vanilla Extract 
6 tbsp - Unsalted Butter
Maple Syrup
McCormick's Cinnamon Sugar Grinder (optional)
Powdered Sugar (optional)

1) Put the honey in a medium bowl and microwave for 20 seconds.
2) Whisk the half-and-half, eggs, vanilla, and salt into the bowl with the honey (add a few grinds of Cinnamon Sugar if available).
3) Pour the custard mixture into a cake pan or pyrex. 
4) Dip the challah bread into mixture, allow it to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack (to get any excess custard off).
5) Over medium-low heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
6) Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the skillet and cook until golden brown (approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side).
7) Place another 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet before flipping over the slices.
8) Repeat with the next 2 slices (1 1/2 tablespoons of butter for each side in the skillet).
9) Serve immediately with maple syrup and powdered sugar.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken

I've succeeded and failed with fried chicken recipes using panko, Italian breadcrumbs, plain breadcrumbs, dredged in milk, dredged in eggs, dredged in buttermilk, seasoned with smoked paprika, etc. Surprisingly, I found a genuine Southern Fried Chicken in Food & Wine magazine (the recipe is from the movie The Help).  The chicken is foolproof, the crispy skin stays coated on, and it could be used with chicken wings, wingettes, tenders, or a whole chicken broken down into 8 pieces.


4 lbs - Chicken (I prefer wingettes since they sit perfectly in the skillet)
2 - Large Eggs
1/2 Cup - Whole Milk
1 1/2 Cups - All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tbsp - Lawry's Seasoned Salt to add to the Flour (plus a few shakes in the egg/milk mixture)
1 1/2 tsp - Lawry's Seasoned Pepper to add to the Flour (plus a few shakes in the egg/milk mixture)
16oz - Crisco
Cayenne Pepper

1) Mix the eggs and milk and add a few shakes of seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, and cayenne.
2) Mix the flour with the measured seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, and cayenne.
3) Dredge the chicken in the milk/egg, drop it on both sides in the flour, and put on a cooling rack to get any excess flour off.
4) Warm up the crisco in a skillet on medium heat until it has melted and the oil is rippling (6 minutes).
5) Cook the chicken until it is brown on both sides.
6) Rest the finished chicken on a plate with a napkin to soak up any excess oil. 
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Traces (100 E 17th St, NY, NY 10003)

Has a show with 2 stripper poles ever disappointed?

All seriousness, this show was entertaining, thrilling, and impressive.  The 7 international performers are multi-talented and I didn't want the 90 minute show to end.  The theater was intimate and the music was great and kept up the rhythm of the show.  The entertainers showed off their acrobatic skill, sang, played instruments, somersaulted, and transitioned to each segment with witty jokes / dialogue.  Some of them even reminded me of celebrities: Steve-O, Marcel from Top Chef, and the Asian guy from Ocean's 11.

Although I frown on sequels, I left wanting more and would definitely see their next show.

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