Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Asian Coleslaw


Cole Slaw is one of my favorite salads. It's crunchy, refreshing, can be made in any number of ways and it keeps for a long time in the fridge.

Recently I had a salad at a Japanese restaurant and was struck by how pure the ginger flavor was, almost as though it was just a puree of ginger tossed with lettuce.

This is my attempt to recreate that, only with cabbage, the seasonal first of which is now at the market. So now is the time to start indulging in coleslaw while the cabbage is at it's peak. Also given that this upcoming weekend is the Fourth of July this is a perfect accompaniment to any BBQ fare you might be making. It travels well, too, so if you need to take something for a picnic or to a friend's roof in Brooklyn put this on your list.

To be fair, this recipe is very approximate as when I made it I wasn't thinking about publishing the recipe here, but I had several people after the Pride Dinner ask for the recipe, so here is my approximation - please adjust all seasoning to your own tastes, using this as a suggestion.

Asian Coleslaw

Preheat your oven to 375F

Chop or grate 8 cups of cabbage (4 red, 4 green), 2 large, peeled and washed carrots, 4 finely chopped scallions and 1 cup plus minus 2T roughly chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley into a large mixing bowl.

Toss in 1/2 - 3/4 cups of goji berries* to the cabbage mixture

Separately, toast until lightly brown 1/2 cup plus 1 T sesame seeds (6-8 minutes).

Then toast 2/3 cup plus 1 T cashews.

Toss 2/3 cups of cashews and 1/2 cups sesames into the Cabbage mixture reserving 1 T of each of garnish.

To make the vinaigrette in a bowl add:

1/2 cup plus canola or safflower oil, 2 T Toasted Sesame Oil, 1/4 cup plus 1 T rice vinegar, 1 T cane sugar, 2 T Mirin and 1 T Tamari, 4 T of fresh, peeled ginger , salt and freshly grated pepper, whisk and taste, adjust seasoning.


Toss the vinaigrette into the cabbage mixture, taste several time adjusting the seasoning, feeling free to grate more ginger in or adding more sugar. I tend to like things with a vinegar punch so feel free to add at will.

Once happy with the seasoning let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to over night.

Spoon into your serving dish and garnish with the reserved parsley, sesame and cashew nuts**.

Makes enough for 12 or more people and if you added grilled chicken and a side of sticky rice with peanut sauce you'd have a meal!

* much cheaper if you buy them in a Chinese grocery store and widely available in Chinatown
** I took these pictures with left over coleslaw and was out of cashews which is why you can't seem them in the garnish.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Favorite Jello Recipes of Yore

Thanks to Kurt for sending this around.
Now tell, me does the filling in the one below look like seafood? Looks more like some kind of pork stir fry you'd find in a to go Chinese place.

Please don't try this at home!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What's For Lunch?

Over at the Slow Foods USA's blog some California students are sharing what is being served in their cafeteria for lunch. Pictured above is warmed Cheetos with Melted Cheese - for real. This has to be an all time low.

I think it's hysterical that WikiAnswers makes a special point of letting you know that Cheetos are gluten free. That must be why they are serving them in school cafeterias so that all those poor kids with Celiac disease will have something to eat. Oh wait, um, there's no gluten in salad either...

Not one to leave any stone unturned here's the nutritional information on Cheez Whiz. It looks like melted Cheez Whiz, doesn't it?


And to end it all off Wired does a great break down of Easy Cheese the stuff you can spray - it comes in a can. My favorite use of Easy Cheese was by a drag queen in the late 90's in the East Village (I think it was Endive) who used to spray it on the audience, and I think she might have made fashionable little canapes with Ritz crackers (or Triscuits?) and Easy Cheese for the audience as well. It's hard to remember, it was late and well, it was at a club....

Of course Endive used Easy Cheese for its camp value (just the name makes me smile) and as an an amuse-bouche for her big song finale "Big Fat Drag Queen walking down the street..." (sung to the tune of Pretty Woman). Now that's cheesy.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Marching with the Bloggers, A Broken Oven and Dinner for 15

Yesterday was gay pride here in NYC, the annual parade and celebration of the Stonewall Riots which happened 41 years ago, kick starting the LGBT movement.

Over the years I've gone from being very involved (the ACT UP days) to being totally disinterested. This year when I saw that there was going to be a gay bloggers group marching that it would be a good opportunity to meet some fellow bloggers so I had an Urbanfoodguy
t-shirt made up and off I went. Not, I have to admit, without a little bit of trepidation. I'm horribly self-conscious and oddly awkward in situations where I don't know anyone and am walking down Fifth Avenue with thousands of people all around cheering. As it turned out my anxiety was for naught, it was a friendly group of people and by the half way point I was even helping hold the banner. It was a lot of fun and I was particularly thrilled to be able to chat with Joe Jervis whose blog JoeMyGod is an inspiration to me and a daily read in our house.

The gay rugby team walked in front of us.

The scene below the Empire State building.

Joe Jervis.
Christopher street.


There is a great missed food opportunity here, at the end of the parade everyone is thirsty and peckish, but there isn't really any good food. Sure there are the usual street vendors selling water, ice cream and mystery meat, but it seems to me to be a perfect opportunity to have some more interesting, local foods, like maybe: People's Pops or a MIL Kimchee and Cheese Curd Sandwiches on Ciabatta from Saxelby Cheese or maybe a little Porcetta on a bun or a Lukes Lobster Roll? At the very least couldn't we have interesting, humanely raised, local, farmed meat sausages and hot dogs from the Meat Hook? Just a thought.

So after my exhilarating walk down Fifth Avenue I got home and was busily doing all the last minute preparations when I turn the oven on to toast some sesame seeds, about 5 minutes later I check the temperature on the stove and see it's not getting hotter. I wait and I wait only to come to the panicked realized that our fancy ass Bosch stove is broken.

Excuse me while I sound my age and go on a brief rant about built in obsolescence.

Never in my life have I ever lived anywhere or heard of anyone who stove broke. Our neighbors who saved the day by letting me use their stove have the original basic non electric, small, cheap stove that the unit came with and was installed in 1959, it works just fine, it doesn't have n interior light or even something that tells you the temperature, but you know what? It works and works and continues to work because it's not dependent on anything other than the gas connection and the pilot light to work. So my recommendation to any of you out there who think you want to get the fancy ass stove with all the bells, whistles, computerized electric doo hingy's? Don't waste your money, buy an non computerized basic stove.

OK thanks for putting up with that.

All in all it was a great day and I have two new recipes to post, a spinach pizza that is all creamy bechamel and local cheesey melted goodness and a sour cherry crumble that's served with chocolate sauce! Yummy.

Gay Pride Party Menu

Can you tell I found a place that sells colored chalk?

If you are in NYC look for me I'll be marching with the Bloggers wearing my newly minted Urbanfoodguy T-shirt.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lobster and Shrimp. Oh My! Nissun Seafood, Chinatown, NYC

Nissun seafood is on Madison street and I walk by it often and always admire the, er, art direction of the signage. It's funny that they went to such lengths with the signs and the inside of the place is very much an unadorned over crowded warehouse. When I did a google search to see if I could find a business website I was pleased to see that I'm not the only one tickled by their store front.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Huffington Post and Rhubarb Crumble

In an attempt to get a bigger readership for this here flood blog thingy and to try and be self promotional (something that does not come easy to me) I decided to submit a photo as part of a favorite rhubarb recipes slide show that they were doing over at that the food section of the Huffington Post . So today you can imagined my glee and surprise to see that my humble rhubarb crumble was, at least for a brief moment, the #1 rated recipe. How cool is that? Here is the link and as of 12.03 EST on June 25th it is still the #1 rated rhubarb recipe I'm sure it will change very quickly, but for one brief shinning moment my rhubarb crumble stood proud! Too funny, anyway to make it all easier for the folks actually looking for a the recipe here again is the link.

Thanks!

Unicorn Meat




Love this. Some people with a sense of humor have repackaged a spam tin with the obviously satirical "Unicorn Meat" with lines like: Caviar is so 1980s. Unicorn is the sparkling, crunchy, savory meat of today's elite but unfortunately they also used the line:

Pâté is passé. Unicorn - the new white meat.

Which the Pork marketing board isn't happy about.

I've seen several posting about it in the blogosphere, but this is the first time I've seen the chart above which I found over at grist.org where you should go and read their article "Big Pork squeals over unicorn-meat marketing" could our world get any wackier?

My favorite part of the Unicorn is the "superglue" loin. This seemed an appropriate posting for gay pride weekend.

Hurry to order yours now, limited time availability before the Pork Industry shuts it down - order now!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Eat Canadian

This is a very surprising and I think very cynical advertisement. It is very informative, but...


...is the sugar in Hellmann's Canadian? How about the lemon juice? And the soybean oil, is that Canadian? And more importantly is it made with genetically modified soybeans? What was the process used to make the oil? What chemicals were used to create it? And how was the waste from this process disposed of?

Hellmanns,eh? No thanks I'll make my own, with local, free-running, farm raised eggs, organic apple cider vinegar, and Canadian organic canola oil from the prairies. I like to add a little of Mrs. McGarrigle's mustard to add kick.

Large American food corporations hiding behind some sense of righteousness to sell their product makes me furious.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Loving My Chalk Board

...from Saturday nights dinner party to say farewell to one of my favorite yoga teachers, Sarah Trelease, who is moving to Portland. Just another reason to go back and visit! It was also a party to acknowledge the 65th birthday of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi who is the democratically elected leader of Burma/Myanmar who has been under house arrest for 13 years. For more on the situation in Burma and on how you can help please check out the US Campaign for Burma's site their work is incredibly important. We all need to put whatever pressure we can on our government to see that Aung San Suu Kyi is freed from house arrest and allowed to lead her country, bringing democracy and fairness back to the people of Burma. The Chinese backed military dictatorship should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity.

OK soap box has been put away.

OK yes I am embarrassed to admit it, but for some reason when I was doing this chalk board I had a brain fart and decided to add a "g" to the Aung San Suu Kyi so it reads Aung Sang... oops.

Red Hook Community Farm

On my way from the F train station, just before I got to Ikea, I came across this huge, well... farm! Right in the middle of desolate Red Hook! The aptly named Red Hook Community Farm to be specific. It's run by a not for profit called Added Value to help train kids in the "logistics and pleasures of urban agriculture". Here is their description:

Red Hook Community Farm is a marvel that proves an agricultural oasis can sprout from the most unlikely of urban settings. The garden beds are located on what was formerly an asphalt playground in Red Hook, the heart of Brooklyn's old industrial waterfront. The operation is run by Added Value, a nonprofit that trains teens in the logistics (and pleasures) of urban agriculture, from planting seeds to making compost to selling the food. The organization's "farm-based learning programs" bring as many as 1,500 students to the farm during the school year, and both local restaurants and residents buy the farm's produce—more than 30 crops in all, including arugula, beets, okra, heirloom tomatoes, chard, beans, garlic and basil, not to mention cut flowers.





Two Guys From Woodbridge: Red Orach?

The new kids at the market this year are actually not kids, they are 2 Guys From Woodbridge and they sell beautiful, organic, hydroponically grown greens. I was particularly taken by the Red Orach something I had never seen before, also know as French spinach or mountain spinach. I used it in a salad and found it to have a very mild flavor. I think it would be best used as an accent with other greens, for example as part of a mesclun mix. Speaking of which 2 Guys sell a wonderful bouquet like bunch of mesclun, all with there root stems intact, almost like a bouquet of flowers. It doesn't get fresher than this! I'm also interested in steaming Red Orach and treating it like cooked spinach, adding some butter, garlic and lemon juice to it. What could be bad? It also is suggested that the Orach is good mixed with my favorite green sorrel to add balance. I have to try it again as everything I read about it says it is salty, but I don't recall it being so salty? Anyway something new for your plate.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just Because


You can never have too many silly cute pictures of Orangutans in your day.

Chilled Curried Pea Soup


Peas have such a short season here and make such a rich and satisfying chilled soup. Instead of the usual pea soup with mint that can often be a little too sweet for me I opted out for an Indian inspired one that has a little bit of heat and a nice full flavor that enhances the pea flavor without overwhelming it. I did use a generous amount of mint as a topping, I like the added texture and the cool contrast of the mint with the curry.

Here's my thing (rant alert!)I really am baffled when chef's use garnishes on a dish that have nothing to do with the dish itself, like say for example when you order a chocolate cake and the whipped cream has a mint leaf on it. Totally makes me crazy! First off, you don't need it - if your chocolate cake looks so awful you need to add a mint leaf to it well it's already too late, besides a soft peaked dollop of freshly whipped cream makes everything look better so why bother with the mint leaf or those two or three pathetic out of season flown in from Chile raspberries? Your food costs are enough you have to increase them? If you want to gild your chocolate cake lily why not shave some chocolate over your whipped cream?

OK so I have strong feelings about this and now here I am saying you should put mint on your curried pea soup when indeed there is no mint in the soup! Here's the deal, first off I'm suggesting a small handful of mint on top as part of the dish. It does look pretty, but it is not just a garnish it's an intrinsic part of the dish. At least that's my rationalization!

Chilled Curried Pea Soup

Shell fresh peas until you have 1 1/4 or so pounds of peas (so you probably have to buy 2 1/2 pounds of peas in the pod). Keep the pods!

Place the peas in a bowl and put aside.

Put the pods in a sauce pan with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Bring to a bowl, turn the heat off and let sit 10 minutes to cool then strain and reserve, discard the pods.

In a skillet melt 3 T of butter and add 3 large Shallots and 4 celery sticks both roughly chopped (about a cup of each) cover and cook until transparent but not brown, for about 10 minutes, over medium heat.

Remove the lid from the skillet and add 2 teaspoons of garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the reserved pea pod water and the peas simmer for about 5 minutes or until the peas have just cooked. Season with salt.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth, the mixture will be fairly thick. Once pureed pour back into a big bowl and add 1 1/4 cups of whole milk yogurt, whisk until smooth and well incorporated. I also added a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice but this is optional. Season to taste.

Serve the soup with a generous dollop of yogurt, chopped mint and a grate of freshly ground pepper.

With a slice of warm bread this makes for a delicious, filling and satisfying Summer meal, but do it quick peas will be gone from the market in a few weeks.

A side note to this is that if you are making a pea risotto the pea pod water is a great "broth" to use in making the risotto.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gasland

Yet another upsetting environmental catastrophe brought to you by the fossil fuel industry.

Check out Gasland's site for more information and how to get involved.




Here's the blurb from their site:

"The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."

New Amsterdam Market June 27th


The season is upon is! The New Amsterdam Market season that is. This Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm purveyors, farmers, foragers, bakers and cheese mongers (and many more artisanal foodie types) come together to sell their wares at the South Street Seaport (Peck Slip and South Street in front of the New Market building, which actually isn't so new it was built in 1939).

I went many times last year and have to say it is a wonderful way to graze your way through a Sunday while at the same time pick up some great groceries for the week!

The South Street Seaport area has historically been a market area the goal of the New Amsterdam folks is to once again establish a full time market in this historic 'hood.

For more edification on the market listen to Anne Saxelby's interview on Heritage Radio with the founder and director of the Market Robert LaValva on her show Cutting the Curd.

You Busy Thursday? Go See The World Premier of "Queen of the Meat Market"

Last week I wrote about the new Florent movie and what the restaurant Florent meant to me. Then out of the blue I get a press release sent to me about the one night only sneak preview happening this week. It sounds like quite the shindig and is part of the NYC Food Film Festival. Florent himself will be there, fun tasty food will be served and lots of downtown performance people will be there to entertain you. Tickets are $75 and $125 for VIP tixs and are available at www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com proceeds go towards supporting the NYC Food Bank.





Friday, June 18, 2010

Casa Mezcal


After what seems like years of construction Casa Mezcal at 86 Orchard south of Delancy has finally opened! It is very handsome and obviously no expense was spared on this 3 story Casa Mezcal (it really is a casa!). The feel from my brief peek into the first floor bar room is that has the feel of a grand room in a hacienda. I can't wait to go as my regular readers probably have gathered that ever since my first trip to Mexico last December (back again this December) I have become quite the Mezcal fan!

This place is so well done no wonder it took them so long. They have handcarved granite moldings outside with agave plants on them!

Summers Here: Burgers

After writing about kosher beef now available from the Unions Square Green market from New York Beef I decided I needed to actually buy some. I'm not a big meat eater and really for most of the last oh 25 years have pretty much avoided beef.

Tonight our friends Denise and Philip were over and I made burgers (home made ketchup, German mustard and cucumber salad with a compote of fresh strawberries and raspberries for dessert). Can I just say I really understand the appeal, they were really delicious. My recipe? Salt, lots of freshly grated black pepper and a generous amount of finely chopped young garlic the first of the season bought today at the market.

JewFish

Who knew?

Tomorrow is Aung San Suu Kyi's 65th birthday and in order to celebrate and raise awareness about the situation in Myanmar (nee Burma) we're having some people over and I thought it only fitting to make a Burmese food item. In my search I found a recipe for Nga Soke Lone Hin - fish balls in a tomato sauce - sounded like a good way to start the night, the first ingredient is "Jew fish" or Cod if you can't find any.

Above is a picture of Jewfish. I'd never heard of it before and in this instance Wikipedia isn't so helpful all it says is:

Jewfish
is the informal name of some species of fish, including: In the end I've decided to make a sweet pea curry, with garlic scapes and mint. The recipe for Nga Soke Lone Hin calls for white bread, chili powder and paprika which doesn't sound so Burmese to me. Burmese food is greatly influenced by both India (which along with Bangladesh it shares a boarder with) and China (who supports it's evil military dictatorship) and also shares a boarder with. When I went to Burma my impression of the food was that it was vaguely Indian tasting, but still I've never come across an Indian curry recipe with paprika or Chili powder (which I think of as Mexican). So no fish balls for us.

In need of some Burmese Food inspiration today I walked up East 7th street in order check out the menu at Mingala which is the only Burmese restaurant I am aware of only to find it has, after many years, closed. It seems there is one on the Upper East Side as well, let's hope it's still open!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Menu du Jour

When I got home from France I had a moment of inspiration and energy and decided to rethink and reorganize our kitchen. The first thing I did was paint a small wall in the kitchen with chalk board paint so that I could write menus on it. This is the menu that greeted Neil when he got home. I have to get some colored chalk, but it looks good, right? I love it!

Sozzel is an amazing runny little button of joy cheese that is an invention of the folks over at Saxelby Cheese at the Essex Street Market I highly recommend you run out and get some today! Also not mentioned on the board is the whole wheat focaccia with sea salt and rosemary I made as a platform for the cheese.
Why are potatoes so good? I threw in a half dozen whole garlic cloves with the potatoes and roasted them all up together with a little olive oil (425 for about 40 minutes for about 11/2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes), once out of the oven I sprinkled chopped rosemary and salt over them. So simple and so delicious!
Mostly the balsamic glaze was on the red leaf butter lettuce, the tuna was briefly seared ina dry pan after marinating in olive oil and lemon juice, slat and pepper for about 40 minutes. 2 minutes max on each side. I rarely buy Tuna these days (it's a sustainability issue for me - we need to eat smaller fish and give the big ones a chance to recover), but I used to make this dish all the time when Neil and I lived on Second Avenue. I bought this Tuna, which is Yellowfin, and line caught off the coast of Montauk at the green market. It was late afternoon and the fish monger was packing up and had a sale on it, how could I resist?

This is a perfect easy Summer supper and as long as you buy local caught Tuna - Yellowfin (any kind really other than Bluefin) it's a great treat and a good option for meat eaters (given you aren't one, but you eat fish).
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