Sunday, July 30, 2006

Magical Culinary Tour: Boston (Day 2)

The second day:

We got an early start on Day 2. We left Rosie's apartment in Central Square and headed towards Boston, on foot! We passed by a funky Korean supermarket; it looked almost identical to the Asian markets by me, so I am happy Rosie has that access as she is the queen of Asian cooking!

On the way to the Charles River, we passed by M.I.T. I half-expected to see some guys with unkept hair and pocket protectors come out of the buildings, but I guess it was too hot for that!!

The Charles River was beautiful -- unfortunately we didn't get to see too many boats on the water, but I did on my way to the airport later on. A beautiful sight!

A few minutes after crossing the Charles River we reached Newbury Street. Rosie tried to describe it to me in New York terms, being a seasoned New Yorker herself. It's a cross between the West Village, Soho, and 5th Avenue. So, it's packed with cafés and funky stores, but also Gucci and Valentino. But Newbury Street is a long stretch of a road, I know, because we walked the entirety of it, so there was really something for everyone. We stopped off at brunch at the very hip and 'now' Sonsie.

In addition to the atmosphere and the scene, which was fantastic (we got a table right by thesidewalk for people watching), the food was INCREDIBLE!!! I was so unbelievably impressed. Rosemary had a burger and fries thing - told you she likes her meat -
and I had such an incredible salad. Mmmm, please let me describe. Well the 'official' title of the salad is Parmesan Fried Portabello Mushrooms with Ugly Tomatoes and Pesto Cheese, but if I was to name this dish it would be Mmmm, mmmm and mmmm! So, the mushrooms were fried, obviously, and I'm guessing they probably cut up a huge portabello in long slices, battered it, and fried it. YUM! These were over perfectly soused chunky tomato slices and a generous portion of pesto cheese - I want to say it was goat cheese cause of its creaminess but I'm not sure. All of this was over some gorgeous arugula, in a lovely lemony vinaigrette, with pesto drizzled all over. This was just so fantastic! I don't think there are even enough words to describe it... Maybe just one letter, mmmmmmmm! Have a look yourself!

I've mentioned before that my dad always says I could feed a small country with the amount of food I always leave behind. Well, not this time! I practically licked that plate clean.
But I of course had room for dessert, and wouldn't you, with a name like this: Frozen Callebaut Chocolate Fudgesicle. I know that Callebaut is up there with the other Jaguars and Rolls Royces of chocolate, so I had to partake. It did not disappoint!

After the intense eating session we had, we continued on down Newbury Street, stopping at an awesome candy store with every shade of M&M's you could imagine!
I unfortuntely didn't buy any because I knew that the chocolate wouldn't survive the heat, but it was a really cool sight to see. The store had lots of imported chocolate bars too - curly whirlies, Aero, Crunchie, etc. Awesome!

Newbury Street ends at the Boston Common, which is a very beautiful and chilled out park. We rested a bit there, taking in the nice breeze and fabulous environment,and local wildlife.

And that was basically it. :( A short trip, but great, nonetheless, and made even more special for spending quality time with my Rosie.

There wasn't any time for cooking, unfortunately, just lots of walking and eating! Oh, and I must have gone into about 5 different GAPs. Awful sales!

So, I need to get back on track now with the project. It's obvious I won't be able to finish by the end of September, but maybe by 2007 I will, LOL, at this rate!!! Did I mention we're experiencing yet another heatwave here, and it will be in the triple digits this week... Just thought I'd mention that! :S

Magical Culinary Tour: Boston (Day 1)

The blog is on the road again!!

For the weekend I decided to visit my good friend, Rosie, up in Boston/Cambridge. She had
to move here for work, and is not too thrilled with life here at the moment, so I thought I'd give her some company, plus have some fun times in Boston!!

Although I didn't bring Cupboard Love with me, I thought it'd be fun t
o do a sort of cultural and food tour of Boston.

The first day:

Well, lots of walking, and we stopped at Harvard to have a bit of a rest in the shade. It was so serene -- I was reminded of Love Story and waited for Oliver and Jenny to walk out of one of the dorms. Just sitting there, I felt smart. Rosie and I had one of those 'what-are-we-doing-with-our-lives' conversation. Way too philosophical for a lazy Saturday afternoon!!

We had lunch at a sorta touristy Mexican restaurant in Harvard Square. The food looked beautiful...

but I think my enchilada was just way too cheesy! I thought enchiladas had rice IN them. Hmmmn, well, Rosie's 'burro' was good.

We stopped at a chocolate shop -- renowned for its, well chocolate, and various other desserts and pastries. L.A. Burdick was in the heart of Cambridge, just off Harvard Square. Many people were drinking what looked to be iced chocolate concoctions. I bought a chocolate bar and took in the environment of the rest of the chocoholics surrounding me. Rosie reminded me of a place in Paris that specialized in macaroons, as we had seen similar ones at this chocolate shop. We discussed how we didn't see the fuss and why anyone would pay 20 euros for two macaroons or something ridiculous like that. It's madness -- agreed! Rosie says, "It's just wafer and cream." Actually, Ro, it's meringue and cream, but I totally see your point. LOL.

So after the chocolate shop the test of will and nerves began. We continued walking down Brattle Street, seeing amazing and gorgeous mansions from days of yore. I'd like to say they were 'colonial' but I don't know shit about architecture, so bear with me!

We walked about 45 minutes, in the heat, in the opposite direction. Should mention to you that Rosie is horrible with directions -- but she insisted we were walking back towards Cambridge. When we consulted a couple of locals, we found out that we, actually she, was wrong! So aboard a bus we got, and headed back to her place.

After resting our tired feet, we decided to have some Italian food in Boston's Little (actually quite Big) Italy in the North End. It is basically one long street, Hanover, with side streets all full of gelaterias, pastry shops, and Italian shops and restaurants -- not like the bullshit that is NY's Little Italy, this one actually had Bostonians hanging out in it.

Did I mention that Bostonians are hard core Red Sox fans?! Man, I'm glad I didn't wear my Yankee jersey to dinner, sheesh!

We went to La Summa, an Italian restaurant off of Hanover Street. Judging by the 45-minute wait, we were assured that the food was good... And it was!

We had a fantastic salad for starters. Following on my adventure in trying out new cheeses, I suggested we try a salad of mixed greens, gorgonzola (!), fennel, figs, walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette. Well, what can I say, I love gorgonzola!!! Woohooo! But I also discovered how gross fennel is -- yuck! Licorice, anyone?! So I really have to improvise with the fennel salad I have coming up in Cupboard Love.

For our mains, Rosie had the House Special, which is probably every meat imaginable. She likes her meat! It was in a fantastic mushroomy pepperoncino sauce. Yum! I soaked up some of the remaining juices with the ciabatta they put on the table.

I had some jumbo shrimp in a light pomodoro sauce over linguine. Not being a lobster or crab person, I thought I'd at least have one type of seafood Boston is known for. The shrimp was succulent and delicious. This is a happy and full Ilana!

Afterwards, we walked back to the Red Line, passing some very happy and drunk Bostonians on the way. It seems like Saturday night's alright for drinking... and a lot of it!

We also stopped by a cute cupcake shop called Lulu's. How adorable is this cupcake?! I can also say it was delicious!! I had half of it there and then, and the other half back at Rosie's with some organic vanilla soy milk -- how virtuous!

Speaking of which, I barely felt my feet when we got back to Rosie's apartment.. and she said today we would do some more walking from her neck of the woods to Newbury Street, where she promised posh cafes and a cute scene. I'm dreading the walk, but not the experience... on to Day 2! Hopefully I'll regain some feeling in my legs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One-Way Ticket

Many people that 'know' me know what a great desire and pull I have to live in Israel. Something happened between age 0 to 6 that made me completely and utterly in love with my birth country. Many people will also know that I have tried living the 'Israeli' life, and have failed, miserably. First time, on a junior-year abroad thingie, I ended up spending most of the time with my fellow American students. When I moved there for two years for my Master's, well, I did my best, but it was just too lonely without my immediate family.

But, back to today. As always, I read the NY Times food columns every Wednesday. I was pleased to find an article about the new Israeli joints opening up all over Manhattan, and then a sort of panic set in. It's best summed up in the following quote I got from this article, about the newest Israeli coffee shop opening up:

"Israelis are proud, it's something that is theirs."

So, I was of course proud to see my country being represented in the foodie world here, but then I felt all territorial... yeah, ok, Americans will love it, but it's ours!! I had horrible images of Americans touring the new Israeli haunts as if we were a country in Epcot Center.

The article in the NY Times lists a few of the cool spots in the city, that have everything Israeli from shakshuka to hummus, schnitzel and falafel, and since the article is only available for free for two weeks, I thought I'd list them for you here.

Taim (means 'tasty' in Hebrew, by the way) - 222 Waverly Place (Seventh Avenue South)
Chickpea - 23 Third Avenue (St. Marks Place)
Aroma - 145 Greene Street (Houston Street)
Holyland Market - 122 St. Marks Place
Yummy Shawarmy - 71 Seventh Avenue South (Bleecker Street)
Hummus Place - 109 St. Marks Place (First Avenue)

All these places are close enough to have a sort of foodie walking tour, but since I only had one hour for my lunch, today I chose to go to Aroma. For those not in the know, Aroma is the first U.S. installment of the Israeli espresso bar. This is BIG. Especially, since Israelis are very serious about their coffee - the fact that they would want to expose the rest of the world to their coffee is warming, but at the same time, in true Israeli fashion, they want to show people what coffee is all about! Here is another man-on-the-street quote from a recent visitor of Aroma.

"I told my husband that we really need coffee here (Aroma). The coffee here is simply atrocious. We were in Canada, in the Rockies, in Vancouver, and we couldn't find any decent coffee. Americans don't understand coffee. They love their Starbucks. In my opinion, it isn't coffee. I don't know what it is - it's brown water. Finally, there is a place where you can drink coffee," she groused, and then downed a gulp.


Well I have to be honest and say I don't drink coffee! But, this espresso bar also offered salads and sandwiches, so I thought I'd check it out.

OMG, how impressed was I???!!!! I feel like I stepped into Tel Aviv for a second!

The place is gorgeous; brand spanking new! It looks almost exactly like the Aroma chains look like in Israel - the seating includes long communal tables with fantastic swivelly red pleather chairs. You honestly feel like you could be there all day.

I had a mozzarella sandwich - the bread is fantastic! Just like home. I was sitting there, eating my fantastic sandwich, the bread was so good I almost wept. I was sitting across from a very preggers Israeli woman. In true Israeli style she had about five different cellphone conversations, and she couldn't stop saying how things were exactly as they were in Israel - the big salads, the iced chocolate. Oh, and of course, I totally eavesdropped on her conversation. I gave a small giggle when she said that by the time her friend would get there to eat with her she would have already given birth! She saw me laugh, so I think my cover was blown.

The lemonade was fantastic too! A bit on the tart side, just how my uncle makes it!

The best part is that once you order, your name is called when your order is ready. The woman at the microphone was a fantastic Israeli chick, and she said in her hoarse, three-packs a day, Israeli accent, 'Eeeeeelana!' Yes, that is how my name is said. Not, Eh-lana, not Ih-lana, it's Eeeeelana!

So even if I can't have Israel, I can have some part of it -- the food, arguably the best part!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Well after the fun I have been having, I needed to get my head thinking project-wise! With such success with the Thai curry last week, I thought I'd give it another go!

108. DIY: Make your own curry paste - *Thai*
109. Thai Vegetable Curry (summer) - *Thai*

I didn't get to make my own curry paste in Florida, so I took the opportunity to make one tonight.

I decided on 'Green' since the Red tends to be pretty spicy, and I was keen on some variation.

The following ingredients go into a food processor: green chillies, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, cumin, turmeric, coriander (the spice, not herb), garlic and soy sauce. Since I was keeping it veggie I used soy sauce instead of fish sauce or shrimp paste. I really don't like the taste of either, so the veggie version works for me!

The result, erm, was not so much green as brown with specks of green. I think that has to do with the fact that the soy sauce colored it.

This curry paste will be good for a little while, so look out for it in future curries!

With the paste done, I could now focus on the actual curry, and thus the reason for my post title. I didn't exactly go shopping at Greenmarket in the city, but my ingredients for the curry looked like all shades of green, I was quite impressed!

The hardest part of the curry was the chopping. So, I heated up some vegetable oil in a wide pan, and then I added some sliced zucchini, spring onions and mangetouts.

Oops, forgot the bean sprouts!! Oh, here they are! Sike!!!!

Then, I added the curry paste and a little bit of coconut milk to get the veggies covered. I added the rest of the coconut milk, some water, soy sauce, sugar, lime leaves and lime juice. I let the veggies simmer until tender, and added just a tad more salt to taste.

I garnished the top of the curry with parsley and served it up with some lime-infused rice.

As lovely as this was, I just wasn't hungry for some reason. I am not sure why -- but I did manage to finish my bowl. It was really delicious, and while eating it, I couldn't help being proud of myself for making a Thai curry from start to finish, down to the homemade curry paste. That was cool!

Well I have a little bit left for lunch tomorrow which goes along great with my I-refuse-to-be-poor initiative!

Oh, almost forgot, I did have a bit of room for dessert -- Rafa's cheesecake that I baked for him. Scrummy!

Inspiring Dinner

Yesterday, Rafa turned the big 3-0! We did something we don't often do, go to a nice restaurant. This one was situated right on the water - Sheepshead Bay - and we got a great table overlooking the boats on the bay. :)

Now, as a foodie, I of course had to judge the food as well... Il Fornetto did not disappoint!

For appetizers, we shared a plate of calamari and an amazing goat cheese salad. (More on that later.) For our mains, I had their brick oven pizza - capers, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers (ya, can you believe it?!) and mozzarella on a plum tomato sauce. Rafa had some yummy chicken in white wine dish over herby mash potatoes.

Now, back to the salad. Wow! I have never had goat cheese before, and I must say, I LOVE IT! It was creamy and not overly salty. Just a perfect flavor. The rest of the salad was fantastic too; arugula and watercress in a raspberry vinaigrette with toasted pistachios. So fabulous! I was so full that I had only a little bit of my pizza later on - but I have lunch for today!

Anyway, now that I have discovered a new thing I love I am anxious to recreate it at home. I knew getting the goat cheese, pistachio and greens was easy enough, but I wasn't sure how to go about making the raspberry vinaigrette. So, I found a recipe on Epicurious, and I hope that you will join me in making this salad.


Joe Dion of North Charleston, South Carolina, writes: "Because I work in a restaurant (I'm a chef at a place called Slightly North of Broad in Charleston), I don't let my cooking at home get too complicated. I'm at the restaurant five days a week and often work on weekends, but whenever I have the chance I enjoy getting together with friends and cooking for them."

Fresh raspberries flavor the dressing and give this light salad its sweet tang; the pine nuts add crunch.

1 cup fresh raspberries, divided
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens with arugula
2 cups small watercress sprigs
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese (about 4 ounces)

Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, shallot, and honey in blender. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup raspberries, greens, watercress, and pine nuts in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Divide salad among plates. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

Makes 6 servings.
Bon AppétitApril 2005
Joe Dion, North Charleston, SC

*I would make slight variations to this recipe based on some reviewers' remarks and my own preferences.

I would only use 1/2 cup of raspberries, and not put the remaining in the actual salad. The dressing itself that I had last night was not very thick, so I'd watch to make sure the vinaigrette is the consistency I want. The pine nuts add a nice touch, but I don't think I'd crumble the goat cheese. I like having the cylinders on top of the salad, and I could break it off as I pleased.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I'm really getting a hang of the whole cupboard-loving thing. Rafa came home today from work hungry for lunch; I hadn't planned on anything, since I was busy making a cheesecake earlier, and losing a bid on Ebay too! We had a cooked chicken breast in the fridge and some of the yummy sauce from last week's pasta. So, I decided to make an impromptu pollo al ajillo, the tapa favorite of chicken in garlic sauce.

All I did was add the oily part of the sauce to a hot pan. Then, I added the chicken breast and rubbed on the tomato/garlic part of the sauce on both sides. I put the lid on, on a low heat, and let the chicken warm through. The result -- fantastic!

The sauce was already perfectly seasoned, and it was a great dressing for the chicken. Not bad for an impromptu lunch! After Rafa was done with lunch, he left a little bit of bread, and I used the rest of it to mop of all the lovely oily sauce. Mmmmm.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Change of Plans (Warning: Food Porn content!)

I was supposed to make Rafa his 'lemony cookies' this afternoon, but I got distracted with thoughts of chocolate, so I made these instead.

They're from Apples for Jam (Tessa Kiros) -- Red chapter! Mmmmmmm. I love the combination of dark chocolate and cranberries. These are incredibly moist too!

Well, I don't have any energy to make the lemony cookies. I'm completely stuffed from some sushi we had; I didn't think that was possible! Maybe tomorrow. Better get my baking ass in gear. Rafa's birthday is coming up and I've been promising him cheesecake for a year.

So, here's another itty bitty look. Mmmmmmm.

Puttin' on the Ritz!

Madame likes to start her morning with a strong cup of tea and breakfast in the sun room. Her eggs are prepared to perfection, standing on top a coral base, with the buttercup yellow sauce lovingly sprinkled on top.

But, back to reality, madame doesn't have a cohort of servants seeing to her every need. The only person close to being her 'servant', though he strongly objects to doing any manual labor of any kind, is off at an early-morning gig at the pool. So, the madame must tend to herself, and see to her own breakfast. For you see, the madame is me!

107. Eggs Royale - *Toast*

The combination of poached eggs on top smoked salmon with a hollandaise sauce is a classic one - but it really isn't anything I have myself eaten. If it had been served at the hotels I stayed in in my life, I probably slept right through it, or would have brushed it off as being too euro-trashy to bother with.

Ah, how times have changed! Well truth to be told, I have no choice but to make the Eggs Royale, because they are in CL, and I really don't have any objection to eggs, smoked salmon, and a sauce made with copious amounts of butter!

So, madame got up not too late this morning and went out searching for smoked salmon. You'd think that living in Lox-ville, it would be easy to find! After hitting dead ends at two stores, she finally decided to go to a small Russian deli. She purchased the smoked salmon, at a steep price, and understood why the title of the recipe included the word 'Royale'.

Coming home, she realized she had forgotten to buy the required lemon for the sauce. Luckily, servant #1 was willing to pick one up on his way home, but his benevolance came at a price - madame had agreed to make him his 'lemony cookies' later on. The things one does to keep her servants satisfied!

When servant #1 finally arrived at the quarters, madame set off to make for the first time not only the hollandaise sauce, but also the poached eggs!

According to Mr. Tom N-D, she would start on the sauce first. (Ok enough of this third-person; I'm getting a headache!)

Well, the sauce was a BITCH to make. I followed directions carefully. I whisked together three egg yolks, some vinegar and lemon juice till pale.

Then, in a small pan, I melted a stick and a tablepoon of butter (!!!) until fizzy and sorta clarified.

The hot butter was then to go into the egg mixture slowly while whisking away. I don't know at which point this was supposed to become thick, but it didn't. And I don't know why. I started freaking out and put the mixture in a small pan and slowly starting heating it and whisking the mixture. Nothing was happening! So I raised up the heat full blast; when it looked like I would have scrambled eggs, I quickly switched off the heat, put the mixture back into the bowl, and start whisking like mad!! And it became thick - wooohoooo!

I seasoned the sauce with some salt and pepper and left it covered on the hob.

Then I started making the eggs! Never ever poached eggs before so was a bit worried! I boiled up some water with salt and vinegar; then I let it simmer and created a sort of vortex in the water by stirring with a wooden spoon. As soon as I would want to add my egg, the vortex would disappear, so I had to call on servant#1 to help me. He was really crap at stirring; it is so hard to find good help these days, but I had no choice. Well the water was sort of vortex-y and I dumped in the broken egg. It sunk to the bottom of the pot, and I hoped it would still become some version of a poached egg.

Well it all turned out to be fine! I put the egg on top a piece of bread with some smoked salmon, and then I drizzled on the sauce.

The egg was a great texture - just set but not overally so. The sauce was a lot punchier than I expected - durr! it has lemon in it! The smoked salmon and bread were of course fabulous. So a pretty good dish! I am not sure if I would bother making it again though, as it seemed to be a lot of stuff happening at once, and I am not sure I am comfortable eating a sauce with three egg yolks in it and a stick and a tablepoon of butter!

But a nice upmarket type of breakfast - and I'm glad I made it!! And now I could say I could make hollandaise sauce, sort of, and poached eggs! What a clever madame I am!

Bring it, G!

Last night when I was posting pictures of the fabulous bread from Sullivan St. Bakery, I thought that I'm having a sort of unspoken competition with Lisa, each of us showing each other things we know we love but can't get...

So, truthfully, it must have started with me....

I was not afraid to make Lisa incredibly jealous with my pizza shot from a few days ago...
Then, the next day, she showed me a pic, on her blog, of a dolphin jumping up from the water by their house. (She knows how much I love dolphins, and how I didn't see a flippin' flipper the whole time I was in Florida!)
Yesterday was the picture of the bread she and Troy adore.
Today, she got Troy into it too - he posted a picture, on his blog, of Rafa's favorite tipple - a rum & coke - and a huge one at that. If I show that pic to Rafa he will faint immediately.

Hmmn, then now it's my turn. I wonder what I should rub their faces in....


Happy weekend, all! :D

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Many Uses of 'The Good Bread'

Lisa and Troy will probably kill me, but I had to talk some more about The Good Bread. That is, the fabarooni ciabatta from Sullivan Street Bakery. They first tasted it on their short trip to New York last month, and then again when I brought a loaf to Florida.

Since the bakery is right by my job, it would be a crime to not indulge in some lovely bread!

At lunch today, I picked up a couple of medium loaves of the ciabatta...

When I was coming home it was pouring down rain, so I obviously couldn't get any ingredients for dinner... I was faced with the dilemma, 'what do I do with this bread before it goes stale?'. I went straight to the Toast chapter!

106. Roast Tinned Tomatoes - *Toast*

I've said in the past I am not a fan of roasted things - apart from chicken! I just find that when veggies get roasted they get all mushy and weird-tasting. Wow, what a mature statement! But I can't be too picky in this project - I am entering now into 'the recipes I wouldn't normally make' phase of the project.

So, roast tinned tomatoes are exactly made as you would imagine.

You empty a tin of whole plum tomatoes into a colander being careful not to break up the tomatoes. You drain it a bit and then put it in a pan oiled with olive oil. A bit of salt is added along with balsamic vinegar, more oil and salt. Finally, a sprig of rosemary goes on top, and it is ready for the oven.

The tomatoes roast for about 25 minutes until wrinkly and slightly charred, and then they just go on top some toast.

I added some grated parmesan too, as cheese was an option.

This was actually pretty good! It still tasted roast-y, but not bad at all. The bread was a perfect vehicle for the tomatoes, so good choice indeed in making this recipe tonight.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


This is why I love living in Brooklyn!

Trio is back. As I told you some time ago, Trio was closed when an SUV rammed into it. Well they're back; and I should know, as I've been stalking them these last few months! As you could tell from the picture, Rafa was very excited to get started in our pizza love-fest!

If you're wondering what is the fuss with this particular pizzeria and this particular pizza pie, uh, you gotta know it to love it. TRIO ROCKS!! Woooohooooo!


Last night was one of those nights where I had no intention of cooking at all, and faced with a nearly empty fridge, I remembered a very simple sauce recipe in the Pasta chapter.

105. Garlic and Tomato Sauce (Aglio Dorato) - *Pasta*

The sauce for the pasta just combines life's best ingredients -- tomatoes and garlic. I don't think there is any other combo that is a match made in heaven as these two. I wonder who was the first caveman that discovered it.... or it was probably much later on. I haven't really brushed up on my historical anthropology!

The technique for making the sauce is long, but surprisingly, not time-consuming. It is not one of those stirring type of recipes, where you need to hover over a hot stove. That was good news for me, since our heat wave continued last night. I was keeping cool in the living room watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune while the sauce was cooking. Here's the process:

5 minutes - heat up a cup (yes!) of olive oil on low heat
10 minutes - slowly cook 8 peeled, but whole, garlic cloves on a low, low heat
(extra 5 minutes of cooking garlic until they become tender)

15 minutes - simmer on a slightly higher flame the sauce, to which you added the pulp of some peeled whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes, but of course!)

The sauce is then left to cool for about ten minutes, and then it is pulsed in a food processor till blended and emulsified.

I had to process it twice because I found that the sauce tended to separate a bit. At this point I also added some salt and pepper.

I boiled up some linguini, drained it, and then added a few tablespoons of the sauce to the pasta. Then I just sprinkled on some grated parmesan and pepper, and that was it!

Mmmm, so so good! I thought that the pasta would be oily, like while eating it I would get little oil puddles on my coffee table (I'm a messy eater!), but it wasn't at all. The sauce was like a warm winter coat on the pasta; the two just blended together perfectly.

If the kids (and adults!) are not too garlic-phobic, I recommend this as a weekday family meal. A big bowl of pasta in the center of the table, some garlic bread, and some wine for the parents!

Also, since you only use a bit of the sauce for each serving of pasta, the rest of the sauce could be kept in the fridge and used in the future. I think I will probably have this again this weekend. YUM!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

She wasn't kiddin'!

I told you it was hot in NYC!!

Here is a fellow Brooklynite taking a 'cat nap' on a bench on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach. (Photo courtesy of NY Times) I'm not sure how accurate this portrayal is of old men on Brighton Beach. Most seem to wear G-string speedos. Ewwwwww!

Speaking of Brighton Beach, watch out for more adventures from the Magical Culinary Tour coming this summer! I'm going to list prospective destinations here so I have no excuse to not actually follow through with them!
  • Astoria, Queens
  • Arthur Avenue, Bronx
  • Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
  • Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
  • Boston, Massachusetts
Let the fun begin!

Will she? Won't she?

Vacations are bad! They make you feel like you can rush through the world at the speed of light, that you are more glamorous and beautiful than you really are, that the world can just stop for an instant. The seconds you dunk your head in the water and then pop out could be hours, but they are mere minutes, in reality.

I feel like these last few days I have been in a bubble. I wasn't lazy, I was keen on life, 'full of beans', as my friend would say. I was even able to mostly ignore the awful pit in my stomach over what's going on in my homeland.

Now I'm faced with reality head-on. Thank god my sister and her family were able to relocate further south in Israel. They are staying with my dad, who is in Israel for the next month or so. I hate feeling like awful things are happening all the time, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Cooking-wise, am I ready to give myself another jumpstart? It is hot here... and not the 'aww, summer's getting on my nerves' type of hot, REALLY HOT! When I arrived at JFK last night it was something like 90º, and it was almost midnight!

So, what will I cook in this hot weather? I really want to get through some more salad recipes; perhaps a Thai curry here and there. I'm not giving up and so far heading towards my target date. We'll see what the future brings...

As far as I know, I think anyone should sign a Terms and Agreement type of notice when buying airline tickets; I hereby promise that I will not believe that vacations are never-ending, and that I never have to come back home. Employers will be just as annoying upon your return. And as tempting as it is, don't scratch mosquito bites!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Feelin' hot, hot, HOT!

This is my last day here! Waaaaah!

Lucky me though got to go on an awesome kayak ride....

We got to see some flamingoes -- how cool is that?!

After some shopping, I made lunch!

104. Prawns and Red Curry - *Thai*

Our shopping expedition including getting some coconut milk and Thai red curry paste.

I started cooking by defrosting and deveining some shrimp. I also zested a lime and chopped up some parsley.

As always, I started on the rice first. I spritzed some lime into the rice water to give it a bit of a zing.

So, for the shrimp, I heated up some oil in a wide frying pan and added the shrimp. After letting them cook for a couple of minutes, I added the red curry pasre and a dash of coconut milk to make sure the shrimp was coated.

I added the coconut milk, lime juice, zest, soy sauce (we don't like fish sauce) and some sugar. I let the mixture simmer for a little bit.

Then I spooned the curry into a few bowls and garnished each with chopped up spring onions and parsley. (No go with the coriander - fine by me!)

The curry was fantastic!! I have a very sensitive palate and it was definitely on the spicy side. Troy and Lisa, huge spiceophiles, loved it, but had to add some extra chilli flakes to their bowls!! Yikes!

Well I think that just proves how insane they are, but I love 'em anyway!

Quite appropriately, Troy put on 'Hot Hot Hot' while we were eating... I'm off in a sec to the pool for my last swim to cool off!!!

See you back on the other side!