Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Fixing Charred Baked Goods

July 29, 2014

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We’ve all been there: the bottom of the cookies or cake have burnt while the rest of it is perfectly fine.

No worries! Use a box grater, or a microplane zester to gently shave off the charred part.

The baked goods will be good to eat, and nobody will ever know about your little mishap!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Peeling Tomatoes

July 15, 2014

 

1635400438This time of year, I can’t get enough tomatoes. The current bounty is a far cry from the mealy, styrofoam-like tomatoes we have around here most of the time. These ripe, juicy, deep red beauties are full of flavor and vitamin C.

I love them raw, baked, sliced, diced and sautéed.  Sometimes, it’s nice to take the skin off, and cook them down to a thick, rich sauce, to pour over pasta, chicken or spiralized zucchini ribbons.

The easiest way to skin a tomato, or other fruits and vegetables with a thin skin and fleshy interior, is to drop them into a pot of boiling water. You only need to leave them in the water for a brief time; less than a minute, before the skin cracks.
Remove them with tongs, and place them in a bowl. The skin should come off easily, leaving you with a naked, but still very much intact tomato. Be careful not to leave them in the pot too long, as they will begin to cook, and eventually fall apart.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Tasting portions

July 8, 2014

Boulette de viande au romarin

You probably know you should taste as you go when cooking. In fact, most of our unrecipes suggest tasting to correct seasonings before serving. But sometimes, it’s not possible to taste foods before they are cooked without risking serious health consequences. Raw meat and poultry, for example, need to be fully cooked to ensure that they are safe to consume.
So how do you know your meatballs, meatloaves or chicken dishes are seasoned properly? Make one tiny portion , and cook it in a pan so you can safely taste it and adjust your seasonings as necessary.

Problem solved!

photo: glasshouse images

Frankenfoods

July 3, 2014

A while back I was contacted by a production company, who asked me to audition for a new cooking show. It showcased weird food combinations, that sound disgusting, but actually taste good. I declined, because as you all know, I am not that kind of cook.  I specialize in simple, healthy, fresh foods, with nothing strange about them.

mac and cheese hot dog sushi on a stick, with spicy marinara dipping sauce!

mac and cheese hot dog sushi on a stick, with spicy marinara dipping sauce!

Time went by, and they kept calling. In January, they asked to me to come in for an open call, and make an interview tape.  I didn’t intend to go, but the night before, I had a fortuitous conversation with someone who came up with the idea of hotdog sushi. I laughed it off, but at some point on the day of the audition, I decided to give it a try. I rolled a hotdog (organic and nitrate free of course!) and some baby gerkins in sushi rice and nori, sliced it, and garnished it with a srirachia based sauce and a mustard based sauce, and went for it.
Since I didn’t take it seriously, my tape was fun and lighthearted. Who would have guessed that a couple of weeks later, they would call me back?

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They wanted the food to be a little more “Frankenfood-y”( like hotdog sushi isn’t weird enough?) and suggested dipping it in chocolate, using pineapple in the rice and all kinds of other things that made it sound disgusting. I am all for a little fun needling, but I don’t really need to go on TV to be berated about serving food I would NEVER, ever, think of serving under normal circumstances.

With all of the traveling I do, I didn’t have much time. I came back from a business trip and immediately went on location in a snowstorm, arriving home with just enough time to whip up something else. This time, I tried a coconut, pineapple rice, and a peanut butter, (think satay) dipping sauce. They really wanted it dipped in chocolate. I tried that, and rolled it in coconut. Then I had an epiphany: what if I used mac and cheese instead of rice? And what if I breaded and fried it? And served it on a stick? And dipped it in spicy marinara sauce? It might just be edible!

I submitted the latest version, and was cast on the show. I signed a non-disclosure and was sworn to secrecy about the outcome, but since the show actually aired last week,  I think it’s okay to tell you about it.

On a freezing cold winter’s day, all of the contestants and their friends and family (I spared mine from the ordeal!) gathered outside of a studio in Harlem to introduce “Frankenfood.”  We then prepared our delicacies, and presented them to a panel of judges. The prize was $10,000 and the chance to feature your dish at a restaurant in Times Square.

I suddenly became a nervous wreck. The contract basically stated that they could use any footage of me, and manipulate it however they wished to make the show more interesting. My last minute test of frying the mac and cheese sushi left me a little skeptical as to whether or not they would dissolve in the hot oil.  Would my “Tokyo Corndogs” become the next big thing in food, or would they be a “hot mess” on a stick? It was too late to back out, so I went forward with the same “who cares” attitude that I started out with.

I made the mac and cheese the night before, and rolled and cut the sushi so that I could refrigerate it, to the point that the mac and cheese became firm.  The producers loved the idea, and suddenly I felt as though I had a good chance. I dipped the sushi pieces in egg, rolled it in a combination of panko and breadcrumbs, and gingerly placed them in the hot oil. And they held together beautifully!!!!

The judges loved the presentation, the idea and execution. They liked the fact that it was like a multi-cultural carnival food on a stick, and had a little Asian influence (the sushi part and the Japanese panko), a little Italian (the breadcrumbs and the spicy marinara) and a lot of American comfort food influences, ( hot dogs and mac and cheese.) What fell flat was the taste of seaweed, with the cheese, noodles, hotdogs and tomato sauce.

So, as you can tell from watching the show: I didn’t win. In fact, I was almost completely edited out. I didn’t sing, I didn’t dance, I didn’t wear a weird outfit, and my food wasn’t so terrible that they had to spit it out. I fell through the crazy cracks, and that was fine with me! Just when I thought the coast was clear, I discovered that I  was featured in a clip on the show’s website, as a “Frankenfail.”

http://www.spike.com/video-clips/9vhxtc/frankenfail-flourishing-onion-tokyo-corn-dogs-and-matzilla

It was fun to step out, try something completely out of my comfort zone, and throw caution to the wind about my image.  It took 2 judges votes to keep you in, and I only got one on my side, who hated the seaweed taste, but loved my personal style. At the end of the day, for a fashion designer and blogger, that was the best outcome I could have hoped for!

Feel free to watch the show. If you blink, you will miss me, but my food is featured at the beginning and the end,and actually looks pretty good, if I have to say so myself! (and appartently I do!) Unfortunately, it didn’t taste as good as it looked.

If Andy Warhol is correct in his estimation that we all have 15 minutes of fame, I am pretty sure I still have about 14 minutes and 45 seconds left for another opportunity!

photos and video: courtesy of Spike TV / Frankenfood

Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Chickpeas

June 26, 2014

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These roasted chickpeas are a high protein, satisfying snack that are also a great toss in for salads and vegetable dishes.

They are simple to make and a healthy alternative to munching on chips to fulfill that salty and crunchy craving.

Roasted Chickpeas:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Drain canned chickpeas and rinse under cold water to remove the excess starch. Pat dry with paper towels.
Toss the chickpeas in olive oil, seasalt and a little cumin, and spread on a cookie sheet.

Bake in the hot oven for 15- 20 minutes, shaking the pan intermittently to avoid burning.

The chickpeas are done when they are crispy and starting to brown, but not burnt.

Cool, and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Fruit Ice

June 24, 2014

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Summer is here and the days are starting to heat up. It’s more important than ever to drink lots of water to keep cool, and stay hydrated. This trick adds a little fun and flavor to your water pitcher, by freezing pieces of fruit right into the ice cubes.

In a large ice cube tray, place slices of lemon, lime,orange or other fruit into the wells of the tray. Add water and freeze until solid.

The end result are beautiful fruit filled ice cubes that add a hint of taste to your water as they melt.

Delicious and nutritious! Yum!

photo: Glasshouse Images

http://www.glasshouseimages.com

 

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Oven Spills

June 10, 2014

Don’t you just hate when something splatters in the oven and burns to a crisp, sending smoke and a nasty smell into the air?

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Next time that happens, (and it inevitably will) sprinkle some salt over the spill to reduce the smoke, and make it easier to clean up later. Adding a  little cinnamon to the warm oven will give off a much nicer smell than the charred food did, giving the kitchen pleasant spicy scent. Much nicer than “Eau de Burnt Food,” don’t you think?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Spraying Pans

June 3, 2014

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Don’t you hate when you spray a pan with cooking spray and the counters and backsplash get a coating too? I often put it in the sink to spray, but sometimes that is otherwise occupied. This idea came across my desktop, and I have to admit it’s pretty savvy:

Place the pan on the open door of the dishwasher, and spray away! The excess may get all over the place, but it gets washed off when you run the dishwasher. Pretty smart, huh?

photo: glasshouse images

Rev Up Your Metabolism

June 2, 2014

It seems every few years, there is a diet trend that is later found to be unwarranted. Remember high carb, low fat? How about high fat and low carb?
Right now it’s all about juice cleansing, and being gluten free. Thanks to the new film “Fed Up,” sugar free eating is gaining momentum, and will be the next big thing in dietary deprivation.

While some of this advice is valid, we spend so much time hip hopping between the latest diet and exercise crazes, that we often sabotage our metabolisms in the process.

A fit young man runs on a beach trail in sand dunes.

Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Revving up your metabolic functions can result in weight loss and increased energy. Yet, so many of the things we do actually have a negative effect on our systems.

Some of the first things we think of when trying to lose weight are eliminating calories and hitting the gym. While those things will impact weight loss, going about them in the wrong way can have adverse implications.

The more you move, the more you burn.

Recent research states that sitting all day at a desk can be hazardous to your health. Even exercising for an hour per day can’t offset the sedentary lifestyle of a desk jockey.

To alleviate the problem, try to get up every hour or so to stroll around the office. Use your breaks to take a walk, and hit the steps instead of the elevator. Getting up and getting the blood flowing keeps the metabolism active.

Iron deficiency can also be a metabolism-slowing culprit. Menstruating women and some vegetarians can easily become anemic. Add a supplement, or simply increase your intake of iron rich foods, such as beans, spinach, shrimp, lean meats and artichokes.

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Extreme dieting may initially get the scale moving in the right direction, but long term and frequent yo-yo dieting can wreck havoc on your system. When you deprive your body of essential nutrients and the calories it needs to function properly, you trick it into “starvation mode”, causing your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy, resulting in a lower than normal calorie burn. Alcohol can also be a culprit in slowing down the metabolic process. Avoid fad diets and cleanses, and instead adopt a well balanced diet, full of healthy proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and eliminate unhealthy processed foods.

Dehydration can be another metabolic roadblock. The body needs water to run properly, and without it, it works less efficiency. Drinking more water also helps escort excess fluid from the body, flushing out toxins and bloat.

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Your body needs adequate sleep in order to function at its optimum level. When deprived of sleep, we perform much more slowly, and our metabolism follows suit. Sleep deprivation is also linked with unhealthy food cravings. Try to get 8 hours of shuteye each night, and step away from the empty calorie foods, like cookies and chips.

Good health revolves around a consistent program of well-balanced eating, physical exercise, and adequate rest and recovery. Taking care of your body will help it function at its peak level. Try cleaning up your diet, and getting up and moving, and see how positively it responds. You will look and feel better in no time!

photos: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Edamame Hummus

May 28, 2014

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In the wake of the great hummus recall of 2014, it’s time the ask the question on everyone’s mind:
Why not make our own?
No good reason, since it’s actually pretty simple to do. Trader Joe’s edamame hummus may be a cult favorite, but just because it’s off the shelves, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the homemade version.

It all starts with the same simple ingredients, enhanced to suit your tastes.

Edamame Hummus:

In a medium pot, boil one bag of shelled, frozen edamame and a few cloves of peeled garlic in salted water, until thawed and tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain, and transfer to a food processor. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, about a tablespoon of fragrant olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth, adding small amounts of water until it reaches the desired consistency.

To take it up a notch, add a 1/4 cup of tahini, and a handful of cilantro. Puree until smooth, and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to blend and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

 


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