Monday, March 17, 2008

Blog Moving

My blog is moving to

All the greatest recipes will be there, so come on!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Little Pillows of Joy and Buttermilk

So, I suppose I am on a Southern kick but I finally got my mom's recipe for buttermilk biscuits. This is one of those blessed recipes that are simple to prepare and make you look like some sort of alimentary goddess. For instance, if you say spent the night at someone's house whom you were very much in love/lust/like with and got up early to make these biscuits there WILL be a future for you two. Buttermilk biscuits like these are superb right out of the oven and fabulous cooled and made into ham and butter or veggie and cheese sandwiches, a winner in any setting. Here is the recipe: Go forth and bake!

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1tbs and 1tsp of baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
6tbs of unsalted butter
1 cup of butter milk

pastry cutter (for cutting butter into four)
biscuit cuter
metal mixing bowl
wooden spoon
cookie sheet

if no buttermilk add 1tbs vinegar to a scant cup of milk

Preheat your oven to 450

Mix, very well, the dry ingredients into a metal mixing bowl

Slice the butter (cold) into pats over the bowl and then cut the pats into fourths, little pieces, let them drop into the dry ingredients

With your hands pinch the little pieces of butter into the flour, be careful not to heat up the butter in any way and try to have cold hands

With a pastry cutter cut the butter into the flour until the entire surface is coarse with little butter pieces

Add the milk and fold in into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon

Sprinkle your work surface with a bit of flour

When the mixture is mostly stuck together dump it out on your work surface

With the heels of your palms push the dough forward until it looks like a bicycle seat and then fold it into itself, do this around 10 or 12 times until dough is smooth, add flour to your work surface as needed

When dough is ready pat it into a round form and roll it out to about an inch and a fourth, cut the dough into circles and place on your cookie sheet

repeat until all the dough has been formed into biscuits

place on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cooking Tips

I recently learned, although I already kind of knew this, that when "sweating" vegetables or "blooming" herbs in olive oil you should start with a cold pan. The oil and herbs/veggies go in together and then heat is gently added, the reason being: starting with a cold pan slowly coaxes the aromatics and juices from the items cooking In stark contrast to this is throwing the herbs/veggies into hot oil which instantly sears the outside of the vegetables insuring that their juices stay inside! you know.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Southern Comfort

When I wrote earlier about dishes that call for butter, lots of butter, this recipe sprung to mind. From the great Southern cook Edna Lewis, comes this buttery, warming, tomato dream, so comforting that even if you didn't have a southern granny cooking for you as a child you'll swear this dish brings back memories of her bent over the oven singing to her lil' grandbaby. In some circles I believe this is referred to as scalloped tomatoes, and my mother who is southern says she used to make it with cracker crumbs on top. I used a loaf of sourdough bread that had roasted garlic cloves backed inside and the added garlic was divine, on the side I served a green salad with organic blue cheese dressing. I hope you enjoy this little bit of southern comfort as much as I did.

Also, If you have the temptation to add Parmesan or oregano to this in order to make it Italian, resist! This is butter and tomatoes in their most simplest southern form, delicious.

3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
3/4 stick unsalted butter, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar, or to taste
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices good-quality white sandwich bread such as a pullman loaf

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Butter a 3-quart baking dish (about 13 by 9 by 2 inches).

Drain tomatoes, reserving 1 cup juice, then chop.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then cook onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, allspice, and cloves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes with reserved juice, thyme, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/2 stick butter and brush onto both sides of bread. Halve each slice.

Transfer tomato mixture to baking dish and top with bread, overlapping slightly. Bake until bubbling and bread is crisp and golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

The Joys of Snacking you may have noticed I am smitten with food, a preoccupation that leads to a lot of eating, even when I'm not hungry, and especially between meals. I try to eat healthy but then a recipe calls for a half a stick of butter, I'm not someone to deny a dish it's rightful buttery flavor in order to cut calories. But I do snack healthy and I tend to snack raw. This dip is so easy that it will hardly cut into your snack time, it takes about three minutes to create. Bebe carrots, stalks of celery, or any raw vegetable crudites will compliment the heavy Greek yogurt that serves as the base. The raw garlic will give you the energy you need until your next fabulous meal.

1 small container of 1% Greek Yogurt
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Fresh mint, dill, and parsley, chopped
1 half of a radish, diced
salt, pepper

Mix everything up and eat with raw vegetables, Enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sled for Sandwiches

Cincinnati received some snow and an impromptu sledding outing left us cold and famished. We wanted something heavy but spicy enough to thaw our icy bones and found the perfect treat in Gourmet, a Bahn Mi.

It's hard to find comfort food that also dazzles the palate. This sandwich piled high with mellow braunschwagger, roasted chicken, and mayo is brightened with jalapenos, sweet onions, cilantro, and soy sauce. In this Vietnamese fusion treat you will be excited by the spiciness and then pass out from the heaviness of the meat and the comforting aroma of a toasted baguette. Enjoy!

1/2 lb daikon, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1/2 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (24-inch) soft baguette
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 lb liverwurst
2 fresh jalapeños, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
3/4 cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 cooked chicken breasts from a rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Shred daikon and carrot in a food processor fitted with medium shredding disk. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss with shredded vegetables. Let slaw stand, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat baguette on rack in oven until crusty, about 5 minutes. Cut off and discard round ends, then split baguette.

Mix together oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and brush on cut sides of bread. Spread liverwurst on bottom layer of bread and top with chiles, onion, and cilantro.

Drain slaw in a colander.

Arrange chicken, slaw, and lettuce on cilantro. Spread top layer of bread with mayonnaise and cut sandwich crosswise into fourths.


Goes very well with a little bit of whiskey or a cold beer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Skordalia, Opa!

This week I had some scary Skordalia. Normally I'm elated at the sight of this garlicky spread on a menu and when I ordered it at a Greek restaurant in Ybor City, Florida I was expecting a warm, pillowy mass of olive oil and pureed potatoes. Ah but no. What we received were cold, lumpy mashed potatoes that although laden with garlic, tasted very stale. My mom, who was my dining companion, didn't know what to think as she had never had Skordalia but I was rightfully bummed. So, to set everyone's Skordalia standards at an appropriately high level, I am passing on a recipe from Greek Chef Michael Psilakis who owns two Greek restaurants, Athenos and Kefi in NYC.

The key is to get the potatoes as smooth as possible, I find it's best done with a ricer or a hand cranked processor but if you have a light hand you can use an electric processor. Be warned, if you over process this it will turn into a gummy mess.


3 medium-size potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled
1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Boil potatoes until soft (about 30 minutes). Immediately mash potatoes finely or put through a ricer, and transfer to a bowl. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup vinegar, garlic and shallot; purée. Using a spatula, mix vinegar mixture into potatoes, then slowly stream in 3 tablespoons olive oil, mixing until emulsified. Add more oil to make a smooth, soft purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep hot.

Serve with olive oil on top with warm pita bread. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Comfort Food

When your little life is getting kicked in the shins it's time to hole up in the kitchen until the storm is over. Moments like these I like to make a big batch of comfort food, watch movies, and forget my woes. Here is a wonderful and blessedly easy recipe for delicious, healing black bean soup, enough to outlast a week of miserable feelings. The coconut milk gives this soup a silky texture and dreamy taste, add more if you like. Let me know what you think!

Black Bean Soup

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cans (or 4 cups) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne ( to your liking)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup of orange juice
generous grating of black pepper
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup of coconut milk

2 cups of brown rice
4 cups of water

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and bell pepper until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the seasonings wait a minute, add the tomatoes and stir to combine mash up the tomatoes for a minute. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and the beans. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, adding the orange juice towards the end. If soup is to thick add additional cup of chicken stock. Just before serving, add the coconut milk, and heat through. Serve in bowls with some brown rice underneath. Makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Feed Your Lover

What to do on this day of love?
Here are three classically romantic spots that are sure to seal the deal.

1. Riverview Revolving Restaurant

Although technically in Covington, Ky this restaurant was quickly adopted by Cincinnatian's because of its novelty. The food is ok but the experience is one of a kind. Get a steak, sit back, and start to believe the world really does revolve around you two.

665 w. 5th Street, Covington, Ky 41011 (859) 491-5300

2. Asiana

This Hyde Park restaurant is filled with enough pink to fully satiate any valentine excursion. The Drunken Noodles are delicious as is the deep fried banana. My favorite aspect is the BYOB policy, and if you bring a six pack the kind people at Asiana will keep the rest cool for you, but if you plan on having a good Valentine's day treat her to a bottle of fabulous wine from the store next door.

3922 Edwards Road Oakley, OH 45209 (513) 351-0999

3. Prima Vista

Another one with a breathtaking view, Prima Vista sits on top of Price Hill and lords over Cincinnati, and that's just with the menu. Traditional Italian food is prepared with passion and perfection be sure not to overlook the exquisite sides including, mushrooms, asparagus, potato gnocchi. The view, food, and service are impeccable and worth every penny that you will surely spend on this extravagant Valentine's date.

810 Matson Place Cincinnati, Ohio 45204 513) 251-6467


Don't be put off by the name, foul is an amazing dish that you and yours will enjoy. Foul is a fava bean dip that originally hails from the middle east and is traditionally eaten at breakfast with pita bread.
Here is a fabulous recipe:

1 (15 ounce) can cooked fava beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked fava beans
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cinnamon (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cloves (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash turmeric (but season to your own taste!)
1 dash cayenne (but season to your own taste!)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)

1 small potato, peeled and cooked, added when onion is cooking (optional)

  1. First, cook onion in vegetable oil until slightly browned
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  3. Add large chopped tomato and cook until it just starts breaking apart
  4. Add spices and lemon juice and stir
  5. Add fava beans and salt to taste
  6. Leave on low heat for about 15-20 minutes
  7. Put in blender and puree until smooth or coursly mash with a fork
    (I like mine thicker than hummus)
  8. Place in serving dish and drizzle generously with olive oil, parsley, and a little mint
  9. Eat with pita bread
Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Restaurants that recycle

Does anyone know of restaurants that recycle in Cincinnati, Oh? I work downtown and I know a number of these establishments do not. I am interested in changing that, if anyone has some ideas let me know!