Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Unrecipe of the Week: Eggplant With Yogurt + Pomegranate Seeds

October 19, 2016

epicurious

Last week, I was looking for a few great side dishes that were hearty enough, and interesting enough for a vegetarian to eat in lieu of the racks of lamb that I was serving to the carnivores. After searching through famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty,” I stumbled upon his recipe for roasted eggplant with a buttermilk yogurt sauce, topped with za’atar and pomegranate seeds. It fit all of my criteria and then some. It was special enough to stand on it’s own. It had seasonal elements, was healthy, and full of flavor. The cool buttermilk yogurt sauce was smooth and creamy against the texture of the roasted eggplant, and the pomegranate added a touch of sweet crunch. The fact that it came together quickly was a bonus. It’s no wonder that Mr. Ottolenghi chose this for the cover recipe of his book!

roasted eggplant

roasted eggplant

Roasted Eggplant With Buttermilk Sauce adapted from “Plenty”:

Split 4 small eggplants vertically. Brush with olive oil until the pieces are fully saturated. The oil eggplant will absorb the oil, so be liberal with it. Sprinkle the halves with thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Roast in a 350-400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and they are nicely browned. Allow them to cool slightly.

For the sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with about 8 or 9 tablespoons of buttermilk and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in 1 clove of garlic, minced as finely as possible, or pressed in a garlic press, and a pinch of salt.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the eggplant halves, sprinkle them with za’atar* and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix. It is available at specialty markets, and it is also easy to make at home.

Za’atar:

Combine about 1 tablespoon each of oregano, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. Many people also use sumac, but I didn’t have any and I didn’t miss it!

Photo: top: Epicurious | bottom: indigo jones

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Food Saftey For Power Outages

October 18, 2016

5754d03261bba48d10379412053c6ac6

With all of the storms we are experiencing this season, power outages are probable in many parts of the country. How that effects food safety can be determined by a little logic, and a simple trick.
Should you experience a power outage, it is important to open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible, to avoid letting any warm air in, or allowing the cold air to escape. If the power outage is not too long, it’s possible that some of your foods can be saved. Keeping a thermometer in the refrigerator is the best indicator of potential spoilage.

The safe temperature in a refrigerature is below 40 degrees, and below 34 degrees for fish. If the temperature outside is in that range, you are safe place your food items outdoors; properly wrapped, of course. Although the freezing point is 32 degrees, the freezer should be kept at zero degrees or below for optimum storage saftey. Frozen foods should be only kept outdoors when the temperature is more extreme, and the foods are well protected. Freezer burn occurs when the food is exposed to cold air, not temperature.

Lately, the internet is buzzing with this tip, and it is one worth sharing.
When a storm is imminent, freeze a cup of water, and place a quarter on top, and leave it in your freezer.

When you open the freezer, if the quarter is sitting on top, it means the water didn’t thaw and the food you had in the freezer likely didn’t thaw either.

If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, that indicates that the water thawed, forcing the coin to the bottom. Partial thawing would have allowed the coin to submerge, and then refreeze, placing the coin elsewhere in the cup.  In either case, the food in the freezer should be thrown away to avoid causing illness.

If you have a way to cook during the power outage, via a gas stove or an outdoor grill, it is the best way to salvage frozen food that is thawing. Just remember to eat it and toss the leftovers, , as the cooked food will require refrigeration.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Sow Your Oats

October 6, 2016

Oatmeal is a breakfast staple. We have instant oats, overnight oats, oatmeal bars, and good old fashioned Quaker oats in the iconic cardboard canister.

Oatmeal is a great way to start the day, as it is full of healthy fiber, and protein. Classic toppings tend to err on the sweet side, with fruit, nuts, and brown sugar being the most popular. This can cause spikes in blood sugar, and depending on how much of sweet stuff you are using, it can turn your healthy breakfast into a calorie bomb.

Maybe it’s time to rethink the oats, by creating savory versions that are filling and nutritionally balanced. These taste so good, you might want to consider oatmeal for dinner!

Cookie+ Kate topped thier savory oats with an egg and a pile of greens.savory-steel-cut-oatmeal-recipe

Healthy Nibbles and Bits mixed in peppers and onions before adding white cheddar cheese and topping it with an egg.

savory-oatmeal-fried-egg-1

The Full Helping’s mushroom, kale and miso oatmeal has us drooling!

my-favorite-savory-steel-cut-oats-6

The Mija Chronicle’s oatmeal has a Thai influence, using peanuts, cilantro and ginger as flavoring.img_80491

Healthy foodie Mark Bittman tosses scallions and soy sauce into his morning oats, as he pursues his goal of eating a vegan diet by day, and carnivorous one by night.

20090127-oatmeal2-thumb-625xauto-40005

The Oatmeal Artist uses butternut squash in their take on the concept, as well as other versions on their oatmeal exclusive blog.

butternut-squash-and-greens-oatmeal-8

I’m inspired! What will you add to your oatmeal?

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Greasing + Flouring A Bundt Pan

October 4, 2016

Often, recipes call for greasing and flouring the baking pan. Normally, I line my pans with parchment paper, but in the case of bundt pans and other elaborately etched cake pans, parchment is not an option.

It is critical to get not only the butter or oil, but the also flour, into every nook and cranny of the pan, to ensure that the cake comes out easily,without chunks of flour on it, or bare spots where the cake got stuck to the pan. This can take a bit of shaking and patting, in an attempt to get the flour evenly distributed. It’s not foolproof, and can be a bit messy.

indigo jones eats | sour cream coffee cake

indigo jones eats | sour cream coffee cake

I use cooking spray to grease my pans, as it gives the best light and even coverage. I am not a fan of the baking spray that also flours the pans. It tends to glob up a bit, and gives less than stellar results.

Celebrity chef Alton Brown has a genius solution to this dilemma, and it is one I intend to use myself. He sprays the bundt pan with cooking spray (I like to use coconut oil spray) and then puts the flour in the bottom of the pan. Next, he covers the pan with plastic wrap, and secures it with a heavy duty rubber band. Then, he turns it upside down and shakes vigorously until the pan is perfectly and evenly coated. No mess, no wasted flour, and even better, no clumps or bare spots.

Thanks Alton!!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Crappy Dinner Parties

September 21, 2016

The other day, I saw a post on one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, entitled “Five Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party, and Seeing Your Friends More Often.” It definitely grabbed my attention. The author’s premise was that she had stopped hosting dinner parties because they had become too overwhelming with a fulltime job, and small children. She wore herself out and became someone she didn’t want to be, trying to make sure her home was clean, the food was perfect and the kids were on thier best behavior. Through a friend she learned about the concept of the impromtu “crappy dinner party”, where people just stopped by and the party happened organically.  This version allowed the house to be in a disarray, and the food to be simple. So simple in fact,that  it could be takeout. The kids could run around and the evening would be stress free. All you need are some really close friends who wouldn’t judge to be your guests. Because this became so carefree, the author began to host more and more “crappy ” parties, and got to spend more quality time with those she loved.

4144300265_comp

This got me thinking. Could I do it? I have gone so far as to host Sunday dinners that had a “come as you are” dress code. No shoes, no makeup, no problem. I do however tend to go all out on the food. Even when it is a simple menu, I still prepare everything with care, and rarely skip a homemade dessert. Lately, I have avoided having frequent dinner parties because I have been too busy, or so exhausted from cooking and baking all week that I would rather be antisocial than do another dish. That begged the question: Would my friends rather come over to a pile of old newspapers and dirty gym hair, than not see me at all?

4980600025_comp

I suddenly recalled a night many years ago when we had a power failure in New York City. Some friends came over and we lit candles in the fancy silver candelabras, opened our finest champagne, and made tuna fish sandwiches. It took the edge off of an unpleasant situation, and made for a fun, memorable experience. One that was completely judgement free under the circumstances.

Maybe it is time to throw caution to the wind, and relax my standards of entertaining enough to actually RELAX and enjoy the company. So, who wants to come to my crappy dinner party?

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: “Cleaner” Cookies

September 20, 2016
img_5749

double chocolate chip with sea salt

Lately, I’ve dipped my toe into the wholesale side of my little baking enterprise which is forcing me to expand my repertoire of sweets to keep the variety fresh for my clients. Last week, I came across a tip from the esteemed chef Thomas Keller when he spoke about his version of chocolate chip cookies. In the last few days, I have employed this technique multiple times.

Keller chops his own chocolate for his cookies, rather than buying pre-made chips. Although regular old chocolate chips are great for many things, sometimes chopping up a higher quality, or different cacao percentage makes a difference. I sometimes mix the two, to get even more complexity to the cookie. But, that’s not today’s tip, although it is a great one!

img_5763

“Kitchen sink cookies” have chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, pecan and oatmeal in them, among other things!

When chopping chocolate, or nuts for cookies, place them in a fine mesh strainer to allow the dusty particles to slip through. This keeps it out of the batter, allowing you to have a more perfect definition between chocolate, nut and cookie dough.

We have three new cookies to be added to our website, Etsy, Gourmly, Echohabitude, and Chocolate.org, where we are indigo jones eats. For now, stop by Pintail coffee on the LES or Red Hook, or order from Umi Kitchen’s convenient app ( Shari’s Healthy Eats) where each meal comes with the freshly baked treat of the day.

Unrecipe Of The Week: Tomato and Roasted Chickpea Salad

September 13, 2016

img_5674

It’s hard to believe that summer is officially over. The weather in New York is hovering in the 90’s, the sun is shining, and the heirloom tomatoes are still readily available at the farm stands in Union Square. Before we have to go back to tomatoes that are vagely reminiscent of styrofoam, I’ll be eating as many of these as possible. One way I’ll be doing that is with this tomato and chickpea salad. The chickpeas get pan roasted and infused with flavor, thanks to a little cumin. Add a little parsley, some salt and pepper and a quick shallot vinaigrette and toss it all with the freshest, ripest little tomatoes you can find. It doesn’t get much simpler, or tastier than this.

Tomato and Pan Roasted Chickpea Salad:

img_5671

For the chickpeas:
Heat olive oil in a pan until glistening. Add a can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed to the pan and spread them out so that they are flat and all of them make contact with surface of the pan.
Cook over medium to meduim low heat for several minutes without touching them until the bottoms are browned and they are starting to blister. Add a healthy dose of salt, and shake the pan to allow the chickpeas to cook on all sides. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the pan from the heat, and add a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin, to taste. ( These are a great high protien snack, so consider making extra to munch on !)

img_5670

For the salad:

Mix the chickpeas with a pint or two of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, or several large tomatoes, cut into chunks. We used heirloom cherry tomatoes which come in  beautiful range of colors and shapes. Add a big handful of minced parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a finely minced shallot and enjoy!

We made ours in advance, and kept the shallot vinaigrette separate until just before serving, to avoid having the tomatoes marinate, but you can also mix it up in advance if you prefer.

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad

September 8, 2016

img_5720_fi_blog

We were in California recently, and had the opportunity to dine at AOC, one of the restaurants from award winning chef, Suzanne Goin. The menu is filled with an amazing array of small plates, meant to be shared. Good thing, since I don’t know how I could have narrowed in on just one or two of the seasonal and flavorful dishes on the list.

One of the first thing to come out of the kitchen was a salad made of grilled peaches and burrata, the soft, runny cousin of mozzarella. Sometimes, the simplest of dishes are the best, when the ingredients are fresh, and skillfully prepared.
The next evening, we were at a wedding, where the meal began with a green salad, topped with burrata, candied walnuts and a grilled peach.

I’ve been dreaming of it since we returned, so this weekend, I made my own version, and I’m pretty sure it will be on heavy rotation around here, until the peaches go out of season.

img_5721_fin_blog

Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad:

For the peaches:

Rinse and halve the peaches, and remove the pit. Cut into quarters and brush the flesh with pure maple syrup. Melt butter on a grill pan, and grill each side until you see grill marks. At this point, they will be slightly caramelized. Remove from the pan, and brush them with the maple syrup again.

For the salad:

Toss baby arugula with a little olive oil and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. Lay the peaches and chunks of burrata on top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and a drizzle of the oil and vinegar, and enjoy!

For a little added crunch, toss some shelled pistachios on top.

*If you don’t have a good, aged balsamic, make a reduction with the kind you have, to create a more mellow flavor, and an almost syrupy consistancy to drizzle. Simply cook a small amount of balsamic vinegar in a pan until it starts to reduce.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Naked Cakes

September 6, 2016

IMG_5677

Naked cakes, or those which have icing on the top and between the layers but are bare on the sides have become a trend over the last few years. They have a rustic sensibility about them, and let the beauty of the cake shine through, unencumbered by too much, often cloying frosting. Not to mention the fact that they are easier to make, and to keep in the hot weather.

Earlier in the season, I had an epic cake fail. I was bringing a birthday cake to a catering gig just across town. The extreme temperatures made the cake difficult to ice, but a short stint in the fridge after the crumb coat took care of the problem, and I was able to get the it frosted and decorated without a hitch.

IMG_5676

As the cake sat on my lap in an Uber for the 15 minute ride, I could feel it melting. When I got it upstairs to the client, I discovered that a hunk had literally fallen off in my lap. If McGyver was a baker, he would have been proud of me. I had a thought ahead and brought a container of extra frosting along, and the tools to make repairs in case it smudged in the car. Well, this was a pretty big smudge.We’re talking a large handful of cake that plopped off! I used the icing to “glue” everything back together, and turned the cake so that the repairs were on the back. I went to wash my hands, and when I came back, I realized that the border of rosettes that I had piped along the top edge of the cake were gone. There was no icing thief, who snuck in and ate all the rosettes. They had melted, to the point that the entire cake was now dome shaped. I was scrolling through the phone trying to find the number for Billy’s Bakery, a local bakery who does cakes that start out looking very similar to this one, to see if I could just go and buy one, and add a few proprietary touches, when the group walked in for the party. At that moment, I vowed not to make another layer cake until the fall. (p.s. They were wonderful about it, and said it was delicious!)

Making a naked cake is not only the answer to my problems, but also brings the bonus of discovering that they look, and taste better than a traditional fully frosted layer cake. They also look amazing with a topping of edible flowers and fruit, rather than the standard piped decorations. Something that is simpler, tastier and and more chic than your basic run of the mill birthday cake? Count. Us. In!!!!

To make a naked cake, bake the layers as the recipe indicates. Any cake that can be made in layer cake pans, can be a naked cake.

Prepare your favorite frosting, or if you are serving it immediately, freshly whipped cream will do.

Place the first layer on the serving platter and spread a layer of frosting evenly on top. I like to use a pastry bag with a very large tip to pipe the frosting along the edge of the cake, and inside, so that when it is spread, there will be a perfect rim between the layers, and the frosting will be level. Smooth it with an offset spatula, and place the next layer carefully on top,making sure it is even. Repeat for subsequent layers. Ice the top of the cake, using the same method of piping the rim to ensure a perfect edge. If you like the look of smeared frosting on the sides, spread a thin coat of frosting on the sides and smear it along, keeping it transparent enough to allow the cake to show through. You can also accomplish this by over-filling the layers and smearing that excess along the sides.

If you would like to add fruit between the layers, place the cut fruit flat in concentric circles, paying special attention to the outer edge. You can also spread a layer of cooked fruit or preserves onto the cake before adding the frosting.

Decorate the cake as desired.I love the natural look of edible flowers, which I buy from Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket. You can also use fresh fruits and berries.
I tuck few sprigs of flowers into the sides of cake between the layers, and scatter some fruit and flowers on the plate, giving it a less contrived look than one would get with piped flowers and borders.

If it is hot, you can refrigerate the cake, pulling it out before you sit down to dinner, so that it is back to room temperature before you serve it.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

Unrecipe of the Week: Savory Tomato and Avocado Butters

August 24, 2016

Avocado toast has taken over the planet, in every iteration from simply smashed to decorative avocado roses. We just stumbled across this recipe for avocado butter from Alton Brown, and knew we had to try it. Oh the possibilities!  Smear it on toast, rub it corn on the cob or spread it on a piece of fish. We could go on and on with ideas for this one.

And then we saw a recipe on the Kitchn for tomato butter and started dreaming of it tossed with fresh pasta, topped on a piece of chicken or spread on bread. Whatever your fancy, these savory compound butters are a must try.

4665700095_comp

Avocado Butter:(adapted from Alton Brown)
Combine 2 avocados, peeled and pitted with 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, a garlic clove, a healthy squirt or 2 of lemon juice, a small handful of cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons of toasted cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined.

Spoon the mixture onto plastic wrap and form into a log. Refrigerate for several hours until formed. Slice and use as desired.

1635400442_comp

Tomato Butter:( adapted from the Kitchn)

Place tomatoes under the broiler and cook until they are blistered and start releasing their juice. Cool to room temperature. (use 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, or about 2 cups of regular tomatoes)

Combine the tomatoes with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, salt, a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and black pepper in the food processor. Pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped and the mixture is well combined.  You can roll this into a log as above, or put it in a crock in the refrigerator to store.

Enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Visit our shops on Gourmly ,EcohabitudeChocolate.org and Etsy

 


%d bloggers like this: