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Friday, December 25, 2009

Christimas Eve Feativus

Kitchen Ninjas

This holiday season, many of my friends aren't traveling and so for Christmas eve, we had a serious potluck throw down at the 84. On the menu from our house was:

Roasted Turkey with Portabello and Fig Stuffing
Bacalao Guisado
Mashed New Potatoes with Green Onions
Mulled Wine

Our fantastic guests brought:
Cherry Pie
Cranberry Muffins
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes
Brussels Sprouts with Molasses
Christmas Cookies - Homemade thin mints that were amazing!
Goat Cheese Salad
Green Beans sauteed with Almonds
Carrot Cake
Macaroni and Cheese
Olives and Cheeses

Have the warmest holiday season from 312square feet, which has now graduated to more like 850 sqft! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My new favorite thing to do is to roast veggies like Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower and mushrooms with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper and then cover them in a maple syrup glaze. The not too sweet of the syrup offsets the bitter of the veggies and makes for a great contrast between the sweet and savory.

Roasted Vegetables in Maple Glaze

Assorted veggies - a head of cauliflower, a bunch of Brussels Sprouts, some portabello mushrooms, shallots etc. hearty veggies
1/4 cup of olive oil
sea salt and pepper

1/2 cup Grade A Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Toss the veggies with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender and a little browned.

Just before the veggies are done, in a small sauce pan, melt the butter, add the syrup and stir continuously. Reduce by slowly simmering the syrup for about 15 minutes until it just thickens a bit.

Toss the roasted veggies in the glaze and serve immediately.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roasted Veggies in Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Reduction

Fall is here and I get tired of eating cold salads for lunch, but I prefer lighter lunches so here is a creative way to eat a lot of vegetables in a delicious and not too heavy manner.

I made enough of this to eat lunch the rest of the week and feed my neighbor! Here is a paired down version that will serve four. Everything is estimated and feel free to elaborate on it.

Roasted Vegetables with Linguine in Balsamic Reduction

serves four
1 good sized eggplant, chopped
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup baby carrots or chopped carrots
5 shallots peeled and halved
1 cup green beans
1 cup grape tomatotoes
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and Pepper
4 servings of linguine

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for at least an hour.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the vinegar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Add in the honey, some salt and pepper to taste and reduce until the sauce just thickens. It will still be very loose. The starch from the pasta will help bind the sauce.

While you are making the sauce, bring pasta to a boil and cook to al dente.

Toss all together!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Comfort in Fall

Lamb Stew

Food for the Week: Rustic Lamb Stew

1 1/2 lbs lamb chunks
3 potatoes
2 carrots
1 yellow onion
6 large button mushrooms chopped
2 cups red wine (I used left over Pinot Noir)
4 cups vegetable or beef stock
handful of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil

Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper. Brown the meat in 3 of the tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Remove the meat. Add the rest of the oil and saute the onions. Add the mushrooms and cook a bit. Once the onions are soft, pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and let some of the liquid boil down. Add the herbs, more salt and pepper and the stock. Add in the meat and vegetables back in and bring to a simmer. Cover and turn the heat down to medium -low and simmer for an hour and a half. Add the parsley near the end and cook for about 10 more minutes. The meat will be really tender and you will have a really rich broth.

I served it over some kale sautued with garlic and a lump of fresh foccia bread. It made so much, I will be eating it the rest of the week!

A return to form

Kelly and HAns
Salmon with Yogurt Dill Sauce
Tri-Color Tomatoe Bruscetta
The new Pad

A lot has happened here at the 312 square feet including a move to a substantially larger apartment in Bushwick Brooklyn! I am not going to change the name of the blog. The same philosophy of cooking and living well on a budget pervades, especaily seeing as my rent remains pretty much unchanged! Also, a trip to Berlin, family in crises and a creepy upstairs neighbor revelation! But onward to the future and new tastes to go with the new place.

The First Dinner in the BK

Tri-Color Tomato Bruscetta
Salmon with Dill Yogurt Sauce and Salad

Plenty of wine!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Peache Cobbler for our Southern Belle

For Lynly's birthday this year, they threw an old school BBQ! In honor of all things southern and pig based, I baked a complimentary Peach Cobbler. We drank plenty of wine and ate until we just couldn't and of course had the karaoke through down!

Peach Cobbler

10-12 ripe peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
juice of half a lemon

for the crust
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons brown sugar, to sprinkle on top

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Generously butter a rectangular baking dish.

You can blanch the peaches to peel them, but I never so that. It's such a pain in the ass and to have a 400 degree oven AND a huge pot of boiling water going would be just unbearable in this small, Chinatown apartment! I just peeled and sliced them up.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter, add the peaches, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon juice. Simmer over medium low heat until the peaches are relatively soft.

Combine the flour, the rest of the brown sugar, baking powder and soda together with a whisk. Then cut in the butter using a pastry cuter or knives or your fingers. What ever you have and what ever works. I love my pastry cutter, but I hate cleaning it. Once the dough has formed that grainy pastry texture add the milk to make a relatively sticky dough.

Pour the peaches in the dish, dollop the dough over the top and sprinkle some brown sugar on top. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the top of the biscuit dough is brown and firm.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. This is not an option!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Three years down the line

The birthday girl getting down (via Webber)

Your hostess getting down with fellow revelers! (via Webber)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Three years into my annual tradition of baking up something special for Ms. Jackson, I already decide to mix it up with cupcakes. This year felt classic all over. Ms. Jackson celebrated her actual birthday on the 4th by singing the national anthem at the Nathan's Hotdog eating contest. Watch it! And we got to celebrate the 4th with the time honored American tradition of breaking the law and blowing stuff up! I am feeling a little cheeky today. It's reflected in the recipe below. Comments from the eaters included, "I think my mouth just had an orgasm." and "I can die happy and fulfilled now that I have eaten that." and also "Holy Crap!"

Roman Candle

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate and Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

yield 2 dozen
3 cup of all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs, also room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Pre-heat the oven to 350. Line your baking trays with cupcake liners. If you're me, get your shims ready for your really uneven oven!

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly for each egg. Beat them like you would beat a bad school girl/boy. *Wink

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

Add 1/3 dry to the butter mixture and blend well. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk and mix well. Repeat two more times. Pour into the liners and bake 15-18 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

For the frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1 pound of confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon raspberry flavor
5-6 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter until very light and fluffy. This is even more beating than the eggs, so it must be very bad! Sift in the powdered sugar and add the flavoring. Add milk to get your desired consistency.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You should be jealous of my dinner

Scallops fer MCQ Dinner

Back from the nearly dead after five weeks of intensive classwork, I finally get to cook again! Last night, we went back to basics for an MCQ pre-practice dinner of pan seared scallops over wilted salad with dijon balsamic vinaigrette. Simple, summer, delicious.

Thanks god I'm back!

Monday, June 8, 2009

cupcake calvalcade

Todays post at A Softer World got me thinking about cupcakes and what kind to make next! I have a big birthday coming up at the end of the month and I am already thinking about what kind of cake to make for that. Maybe as a run up I can do some excellent cupcake sized experiments. Any suggestions as to the kinds of things that you would like to see take cupcake form?

Here are a few from the archives:
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Whiskey Butter cream
Lemon Lingonberry Cupcakes
Triple Ginger Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Some Supper

Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette and Mash

I like to bake salmon on salt. It preserves the moistness of the fish and lends an interesting flavor. To do it, layer kosher coarse salt in a baking dish and set the fish on it. Bake in a pre-heated over at 450 for 15 - 20 min depending on the thickness of the fish. In this instance, I made an herb vinaigrette with mint, thyme, capers, red wine vinegar, lemon and shallots. Pour over the fish with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. It made us all feel better after a bought with the swine flu! I kid!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dinner for One

Dinner for One

Sometimes, I get to take a brief break from my busy life, relax and cook just for myself. Usually this involves, taking what ever is left in fridge and trying to cull some flavor magic from it. Thankfully, I had some goods ones left from the past dish last week. So a simple pasta with sun dried, tomatoes, feta, fresh basil, cured olives, and a little red pepper for bite. You really can't go wrong.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Impromptu Sunday Supper

Smoked Trout Toasts
Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

Kelly came over for an impromptu dinner and I had left over ingredients that needed to be used up! So here are some excellent dishes that came from necessity.

Smoked Trout Toasts

4 slices Italian Bread, sliced and toasted
1 can smoked trout in oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
tomato slices for garnish

Combine the sour cream, garlic, dill and salt and pepper together. Spread over the toasts, top with plenty of trout and garnish with tomatoes.

Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Feta and Artichoke Hearts

for two

1/2 package frozen artichoke hearts
2 cups penne pasta
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more if you prefer more spice
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup feta
salt and pepper

Take two tablespoons of the oil from the tomatoes and heat in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the tomatoes, basil, red pepper and artichokes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until the artichokes are soft. Add the stock and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta al dente.

Add the pasta to the bowl and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes until it has absorbed the sauce. Crumble the feta over and mix well. Serve and garnish with more fresh basil.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Whiskey Butter cream

Chocolate Guiness Cupcakes with Whiskey Buttercream

Being invited to a potluck is an excuse to bake which I would never squander. So for last nights festival of deliciousness complete with bacon infused vodka, I contributed dessert!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Whiskey Buttercream

makes 24 cupcakes
2 cups flour
1 cup of butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2 large eggs room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 12oz bottle of Guinness
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and whisk together.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the sugars and whip until well combined. Add one egg and beat until fully mixed and the batter gets fluffy again. Add the second egg and the vanilla, repeat. Add the sour cream and beat well.

Add about 1/3 of the flour and beat well. Then add 1/3 of the Guinness and beat well. Repeat in thirds until the batters is free of streaks and well mixed.

Fill the cupcake liners with about 1/4 of the batter. bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean Rotate half way through if your oven bakes unevenly or if it's like mine is on an actual incline.

for the frosting
2 sticks butter room temperature
5-7 cups of powdered sugar
6-8 tablespoons of whiskey or bourbon

Whip the butter until fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar cup by cup, whipping thoroughly in between each addition. Add the whiskey near the end for flavor. Frost the cooled cupcakes!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Thursday Indecisive Dinner

MCQ Dinner

I couldn't decide if I wanted to cook or not tonight. I ended up cooking. Good thing too. I am sure it was better than any take out we considered!

Tonight's Menu

Pistachio Crusted Monkfish
Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Rosemay
Herbed Salad

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sticky Fingers Indeed


Every time I come down here, I insist on going to the relatively local BBQ joint, Sticky Fingers. It's great, they smoke the meat and the sauces are pretty amazing. This time we got take out and it went fast!

Dad's Classic Pancake Breakfast

Dads specialty - Panacake Breakfast
Table set, match and point. FTW Dad!

My Dad makes pancakes every Sunday. EVERY Sunday. Today though he moved it because tomorrow is Easter Sunday and we are having a huge midday meal. I love my Dad's pancakes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

C is for Cookie

What on earth do you want me to do with this?
Cream that sugar, bitch!
These area few of my favorite things...
Oatmeal Rum Raisin Cookies

Once again and to the delight of the hostess, 312 Square Feet is haunted by the hungryghoast. It's helpful to have things levitate to you in the kitchen, but not helpful when you turn your back only to find all of the chairs stacked in a precarious yet artful pile.

Tonight, we got to performing the Oatmeal Rum Raisin Cookie experiment. It was relatively successful but the results are still coming in. There should be more rum and the raisins should soak in the rum over night to really plump them and get the taste.

Oatmeal Rum Raisin Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
6 tablespoons dark rum

Mix the vanilla with the rum and the raisins, cover and soak over night, ideally. If not over night, at least two hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs and add to the raisin mixture. Let rest and come to room temperature.

Cream the butter and the sugars together with a beater. Sift the flour, spices, salt and baking soda together, make sure they are well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter and mix well.

Add the raisin and egg mixture, beat well. Lastly add the oats.

Roll into balls and place on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookies.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


It was the capers in the eggs.

Slow Sunday Brunch

Maple Soda Bread
Eggs with capers

I tried out an adaptation of my friend Shawn's soda bread recipe. We couldn't easily get buttermilk, I do live in Chinatown. So I subbed in some yogurt, melted butter and milk. The dough ended up too wet so I added in an extra cup of flour and it worked out pretty well. Still needs some work though, but here's the recipe in progress:

Maple Soda Bread
5 cups flour
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add in the melted butter and syrup. Beat the egg with the milk and add. Add in the yogurt and blend well. Knead lightly on a floured surface and place on a baking sheet. Brush the the butter. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 and bake until the bread passes the knife test, about 40 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Inspired to mine the archives

“Because cooks love the social aspect of food, cooking for one is intrinsically interesting. A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of liking what you make are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one else will know. In the end, the experimentation, the impulsiveness, and the invention that such conditions allow for will probably make you a better cook.”

— Jenni Ferrari-Adler (Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant)

via hungryghoast via bunkercomplex

The above has inspired me to mine through the archives to find dinners I made solo:
Parmesan and Basil Scones
Autumn Curry
Zucchini Bread
Boneless T-bone Steak
Zucchini Fitters with Dill Yogurt Sauce and Star Anise Apple Cherry Chutney
Spice Marinated Lamb with Cherry Shallot Compote

Feeding the Ghoast

Pork tenderloin with Lentils, Smokey Bacon and Merlot Viniagrette
Pork Tenderloin with Lentils, Smokey Bacon and Merlot Vinaigrette

Feeding the Ghoast
Feeding the ghoast

Spring flowers
Spring Flowers

Life of an Archivist

Savoring pork
Your Hostess

New York is still in the process of shaking off its winter chill. Soon it will be a wealth of smells (both good and abhorrent), colors and people (also both nice and naughty). To celebrate and comfort, I made an adaptation from on of may favorites, the Wildwood Cookbook.

St. Andre triple cream brie with flat bread
Pork Tenderloin with Lentils, Smokey Bacon, and Merlot Vinaigrette
Chocolates from Teuscher
Lush 2002 Sonoma County Cabernet

Recipe for four adapted from the Wildwood Cookbook:
1 yellow onion
1 stalk celery
1 small fennel bulb
1 carrot
(all of the above finely chopped, I demolished them with my Cuisinart!)
1 cup French Lentils
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
4 strips smoked bacon, in 1/4 inch slices

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Merlot
salt and pepper

2 one pound pieces of pork tenderloin or the equivalent

In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sautee the vegetables until the onions are just browning, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and toss to coat with oil. Add the water, salt and pepper (about 1 1/2 teaspoons of each or more). Bring to a simmer, partially cover and let cook until the lentils are tender (40 minutes or so).

In a skillet, cook the bacon until brown, drain on paper towels and set to the side. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a sauce pan, heat the Merlot and let reduce until there is about 1/4 cup. Whisk in the 6 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt and pepper to taste.

In a cast iron skillet or other oven proof pan, heat up a few more tablespoons of olive oil, thoroughly brown the pieces of pork. Put in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes.

Toss the bacon in with the lentils and pour the vinaigrette over it, tossing well. Serve with the pork sliced over it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lamb Ragu

So on the eve of the last day of winter, I decide to make a very hearty pasta dish, Lamb Ragu! I have been on a bit of an Italian kick with good reason, Italians make some of the best food.

Lamb Ragu

for two

3/4 of a pound of flayed leg of lamb, cubed
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped (I use my Quisinart!)
1/2 a carrot, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (as if there is any other kind!)
a handful of fresh basil leaves, about half the bunch, finely chopped
1/4 lb pancetta or bacon, sliced into small bits
1/2 cup dry white wine
a little more than half a can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
2 servings FRESH fettuccine or other thin flat pasta

In a deep sauce pan, over medium high, heat up the olive oil until very hot, almost smoking. Add the onions, carrots, basil and bacon or pancetta. Cook until all the fat is off the bacon. Season the lamb with plenty of salt and pepper. Brown the meat thoroughly in the pan. It always takes longer than you think, but browned food tastes better!.

Add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, 2 cups of boiling water and season with salt and pepper. Cover, lower heat to medium and simmer until the meat is tender, maybe about 20 minutes.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add the pasta to the hot sauce and heat back up a medim high for about 2 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Gang's All Here

It's been a while since 312 Square Feet hosted a proper party and what started as a small dinner snowballed into a delicious gather of some of my brightest friends. The crew; Art, Evers, J-Tron, the Ghoast, Czyz, Haeyoung, 80's Malin, Chelsea, L.K. Webs, and your hostess.

We enjoyed a dinner of scallops wrapped in bacon, fennel and orange salad, a main of Brazilian fish stew with coconut rice, and dessert provided by one ex-Teuscher employee, Craig, of amazing Swiss chocolates. Chocolates that seemed to perfectly cap the evening. Libations we flowing plentifully and the evening devolved into some homemade karaoke madness! Including an impromptu MCQ performance of our one cover song, "I'm on Fire"!

Brazilian Fish Stew
serves 6-8
2 ounds cod cut into about 8 oz portions
1 1/2 pounds of shrimp
1 1/2 (about 6) tomatoes, cubed
1/4 cup (about 2 limes worth) lime juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 cloves gralic, chopped or put through your handy garlic press
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 flat italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Marinate the cod in the lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 of the garlic cloves, and the pepper for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp and toos to cover. Marinate another 30 minutes, but not too long. The citrus will start to cook the fish and you will have civiche and not stew!

Line the bottom of a really big pot with the tomatoes, add the rest of the garlic and 1/2 teaspsoon of salt. Layer on top the chopped onion, then peppers. Arrange the fish in a layer on top, reserving the marinate. Put the herbs in next and then layer the shrimp on top. Lastly, pour the oil and the reserved marinate over it.

Bring to a simmer and then cover. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and opaque.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wishing for a celebration of the porcine

Turns out that there is a yearly celebration of bacon in Atlanta, GA. Since I am not inclined to travel that far for my love of pig, how about we get this party going in Brooklyn. I would call it, "The First Annual Brooklyn Baconfest and Pigout". Can we make this happen people?