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Recipe: Turnt-Ups

18 Jul


Without further ado, my weekly post for Put A Egg On It. I’ve been having a blast with them, attending a Little Magazine Coalition meeting on a rainy Tuesday. I learned all kind of details about stockists, printers, distributors, and Vanessa’s Dumplings. I also had the honor of getting to meet some kicking indie ‘zines such as Makeshift and Sweets & Bitters, as well as hear about the exciting development of HRDCVR, the product of super talented Danyel Smith.

Can’t wait for future collaborations. For this week, I braised some turnips in brandy and topped them off with tarragon and shallot. It’s a bold dish that’d be perfect for a fatty grilled steak.


And on the topic of the recipe name, I found this Vox article very helpful on understanding “turnt.”


TBT: Cooking @ the Pads

26 Jun

Here’s a photo circa-2011, taken in a student apartment on George Street. Ben and I were making stuffed mushrooms and pasta carbonara very late. Waist apron. Diet Coke.


And Now A Message from Julia Child

19 Jun

Via Picturesquotes

Also, if you haven’t watched this yet, stop doing whatever it is you’re doing:

The Culinarian’s Code

15 Jun

“I shall be too big for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the pressure of business to hurt anyone, within or without the profession.”

-The American Culinary Federation, 1957

This is something to keep in mind on those days where you just want to crawl into a hole and eat yogurt-covered pretzels, or worse, those days where you might lose your temper.

What are your inspirational words?

Recipe: Random Hearts

30 May

Tarry a little, there is something else.
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are “a pound of flesh.”

—The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1, 304-307

b copy I’ve been cooking the nasty bits. Chicken hearts, for the longest time, were something packaged in the carcass of a roast chicken. My dad used to cook the gizzards in butter, as a quick pre-dinner snack that until recently, I found kind of gross. Was I wrong. Chicken livers in butter are sinful. They’re gritty, fatty, with a melt-in-your-mouth richness, like bacon. While flipping through the “Bad Cuts” recipe section in Put A Egg On It, I came across a recipe for a heart and charred green bean salad. The hearts are only $3/lb, so my budget said yes, but something felt wicked about buying this kind of flesh in a plastic deli, like Shylock was going to be cooking dinner. It’s hard not to feel a little perverse about this situation.c

After cooking, the hearts took on a beefy taste that was almost like a hamburger. It’s a rare (forgive the pun) occasion when something chicken takes on a flavor that doesn’t “taste like chicken.” For future reference, hearts also cook very quickly. I had to do a very quick sear, otherwise the meat can take on the chewy consistency of a Pink Pet eraser. It’s a balanced dish: sharp bitterness of the radish, sweetness from the green beans, fatty umami from the hearts and shallots, and some acidity from a sherry-balsamic marinade that becomes the most boss reduction sauce.

Note: I made a number of subtractions and modifications to the original recipe.

1 pound chicken hearts, split in 2 lengthwise
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine (I used a Côtes du Rhône, which was a delicious pairing)
6 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed into 2-inch lengths
1 bunch breakfast radishes, cuts into thin slices
1 bunch of parsley, washed, stems reserved and chopped.

Make the marinade: In a large mixing bowl, mix the vinegars and wines, 5 of the sliced shallots, sliced garlic and chopped parsley stems. Season the hearts with salt and pepper and marinate overnight.

Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of canola oil and swirl around (the pan is ready when drops of water “dance” on the surface. Sling in the green beans with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook beans until browned and smoky, about 5 minutes. Be sure to watch the heat during this time, as the pan will very easily burn the beans. Remove from pan, let cool in a smaller bowl, and toss with radish, remaining sliced shallot and parsley leaves.

Turn the pan to medium-low heat. Using a strainer, drain off marinade from the hearts into the pan. Reduce the marinade pan along with the stems, shallots, and garlic; watch blood thicken reduction sauce and cackle wildly. Reduce by half, strain out the solids, and reserve in a ramekin.

Turn pan to high heat, add another 1/2 teaspoon of canola oil and sear the hearts quickly on all sides, reserve any fat or drippings from storage bowl. Sear in a few minutes, as you’ll want the hearts a little rare. To finish, add the reserved juice to deglaze the pan. Add the hearts to the reduced sauce in the ramekin and let cool. Throw the hearts and sauce into the bean salad and serve warm. Serve with toasted bread for wiping the plate

All photos by Tommy Werner

Photo Practice: Scattered Spring Salad

28 May

photo 2

After who-knows-how-many snow storms and a run-in with a mouse, I am glad winter is finally over. Spring produce looks like nature’s way of celebrating, with beautiful greens from peas and the mouth-puckering pink of rhubarb stalks. I made this salad using sugar peas, cucumber, yogurt, and almonds.

It’s over a bed of arugula, which may be the one vegetable I’ll gladly eat raw and by the handful. The first time I had fresh arugula was a distinct experience. A friend of mine had a laundry bag full of it and didn’t think he could finish the whole thing. I took that as a challenge and found plenty of ways to try it out, but never got bored with a bite. The leaves are full of peppery punch but have the most delicate texture. Even the stalks are packed with flavor. They tasted like a celebration.

All photos by Tommy Werner

How to Prep Lettuce, as told by Jeremiah Tower

30 Apr

Just like with favorite bands, I go through a period where I’m obsessed with learning about chefs’ history, technique, and networks.

I had a huge crush on Alice Waters back in October, when I went and saw her at Book Court in Brooklyn.

She said you can change the world one person at a time.

I went on and read everything I could by and about her, from The Art of Simple Food to the gorgeous photo collection 40 Years of Chez Panisse. In all of that reading, I found out about Jeremiah Tower, who worked as the head chef of Chez Panisse from 1973-1978. He approached cooking with a lavish and surrealistic bent; dishes such as duck stuffed with its own liver or sweetbreads in brioche pastry with Champagne sauce sound sinful. The two eventually split over philosophical reasons, and Chef Tower went on to lead Stars restaurant. I found Tower’s instructions on how to prepare lettuce, and they’re the most caring treatment of lettuces I’ve seen. Might have to print this out and hang it up.

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