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Friday, May 28, 2010

Fat Kid Friday: Birthday Edition (mega post)

This annoying little thing called work has been interfering with my posting frequency. Harumph.

To catch up a little bit, I thought I'd combine a few events into one mega post...the birthday edition.

First up, the celebratory dinner for my beloved Shukmei's birthday:

Stuffed chicken breast, zesty cocktail meatballs and creamed spinach.

The stuffed chicken breast recipe was pretty elementary. I pounded a chicken breast, filled it with stuffing (corn bread, in this instance), rolled it up and secured it with a toothpick, covered with a sour cream-based sauce and baked at 375 degrees for a little over an hour (more or less depending on your stove strength).

I shall never give up my recipe for my basic meatballs, but the marinade I put atop them (at the behest of Shuky's bf Frank) is as simple as ketchup, cayenne, hot sauce and grape jelly. I'd like to take this time to remind y'all that I grew up south of the mason-dixon - therefore, I have a special fondness for trash-tastic grub upon occasion.

The creamed spinach was a bit of a let down. I used this recipe from Emeril, but I have to say it fell short. I was later told by one of my clients that the key is to use a little duck or chicken fat.

Nonetheless, I think Shuky was pleased.

Next up, we have a Red Velvet Cake (buttercream frosting, not cream cheese) made for Arie's birthday:

As you can see, I don't have a future in cake calligraphy.

It was accompanied by dill cole slaw, (faux) crab cakes and buffalo wings.

And finally, today is my baby Cannoli's 12th birthday. She is a sprightly, beautiful l'il thing, with a voracious appetite (for both life and food).


I made her a lamb roast (didn't photograph so well, but I prepared it in traditional fashion with mint, lemon, cumin, coriander, garlic and cayenne). She ate two hearty plates, could have eaten more . I also made some greek-style taboule, made hellenic by including some cucumber and feta.

In lieu of cake, she partook in baklawa (from the amazing Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Ave) and ice cream. I know dogs aren't supposed to eat dairy - luckily, she has no idea she is one.

Also, tomorrow is my friend Rie's birthday, so I'd like to wish her a happy one. Rie and I once attempted (and failed) to make a cheesecake in our dorm room in Chinatown many moons ago. We ended up just eating the cream cheese and sugar from the tub. It ain't called fat kid friday for nothin'... :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miss USA is Arab - so I made baba ganoush

Baba ganoush is one of the five best things ever created (can you guess the other four?). Eggplant! Tahina! Garlic! Lemon! More!

It's so easy to make and pretty healthy (as long as you don't put mayonnaise in it...which people do...and it makes me cry).


My recipe...

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
1-2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup of lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of cumin
parsley (both dried to be mixed in and fresh for garnish)
olive oil (to be drizzled atop)

Directions:

Fork eggplant all over.
Roast in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Peel skin off eggplant and scoop out insides.
Puree eggplant in food processor.
In bowl, mix eggplant puree and rest of ingredients.
Serve warm or at room temperate, drizzle olive oil atop.


Remember, kids - if you eat your baba ganoush, you'll grow up to look like this*:

*or at least that's what I tell myself in between bites.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fat Kid Friday: Move over, Pulino's!

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without some tasty treats to get fat to... :)

Pulino's breakfast pizza (as tweeted by Adam Platt):


My breakfast pizza (consumed for dinner):


In ridiculous BK quasi hipster fashion, I used veggie bacon instead of the real stuff. Basic pizza dough (slightly misshapen, don't judge me)...ricotta salata, parmesan and feta, tomato basil sauce and a baked egg on top. Beat that, McNally. Ha.

It's good to be back :) Stay tuned..time to play catch-up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

There's a reason I stopped being a vegetarian. And it says baaah baaah.

From the ages of about 9-19, I was a vegetarian. It wasn't for ethical reasons, instead my conversion was prompted by a bad fast food experience that ended with me in the hospital for about a week. Not fun. What lured me back to the other side? Lamb.

I could never eat beef again. Veal is delicious, but I suppose I could stop eating the succulent, succulent babies. I would miss chicken occasionally, but if I had to do without, I would. I don't like the swine, so bye-bye piggy. But lamb? There's nothing tastier than lamb when properly prepared.

But there's also nothing worse than lamb when it's poorly prepared. I'm not a big fan of rosemary on my lamb, I believe lamb should almost always be made with mint. In fact, I've never actually had lamb prepared in an Italian tradition that I've enjoyed. To my boyfriend, I likened Italians and lamb to Egyptians and pizza (when we were in Egypt, we ate the (allegedly) "best pizza" Cairo had to offer - chicken, bbq sauce and cheddar cheese on something resembling white bread) - inept! This declaration may cause controversy, but lamb is a pungent meat with a very strong flavor, you need equally powerful seasonings like mint, cumin, coriander, etc. to temper it.

Needless to say, when I'm craving a burger, 9 times out of 10, I'll go with ground lamb. I season the meat with torn fresh mint leaves, cumin, coriander, dill, salt, pepper, hot sauce (unabashed about my love) and garlic. I then mix with breadcrumbs and egg. Instead of putting cheese on top while they're on the grill, I like to crumble feta (another flavor strong enough to compete with the lamb) into the mixture, as well.

See the mint leaf in the one on the right? Yummmm.

The biggest complaint anybody could have about lamb is that it's fatty, but much of that problem can be rectified with the help of a Lean Mean Grilling machine (no shame).

I slathered the inside of a pita with mouhammara before I used it to tastily encase the burger.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I can eat sweets today - (no bake) lemon chiffon cheesecake

Today was a good day. I rose, took a walk with my dog, Cannoli, to grab a large, large latte and explored the area of Crown Heights nearest to Lefferts Gardens. Although it appeared to be a bit of a culinary wasteland, I wondered past a few West Indian fruit and vegetable stands in hopes of finding something seasonal to pique my interest. A meyer lemon, perhaps. Alas, no desired citrus could be found, so I retreated back to my apartment with a taste for something lemon-y to top off a relaxing weekend. My house guests reminded me that I promised some cheesecake glory yesterday and who am I to deny them?

I make a really good, easy key lime pie. It may not be authentic, but if you aren't in key west and you aren't entertaining gourmands, it's delightful. I think it began with a recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook my mother sent me while I was in college and evolved along the way. Using my key lime pie as an inspiration, I whipped up a lemon chiffon cheesecake.


It gives the feeling of a meringue, but without actual meringue. You definitely taste cheesecake, but it's not so dense and overwhelming that you can't go back for seconds...or thirds. It shall be the death of your diet.

All you need: 1 package of (softened) cream cheese, one 8 oz container of lemon yogurt, 1/4 cup of cold milk, 1/4 (to 1/2) cup of lemon juice and about 1 cup of Cool Whip.

Mix the cream cheese and yogurt (save for two tablespoons) together with 1/4 cup of the cool whip. Gradually add in the milk and lemon juice to taste. Blend away. Place filling in your pie crust (I trust you know how to make or buy a graham cracker crust). Mix remaining Cool Whip with remaining lemon juice and saved lemon yogurt. Spoon over cheesecake mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours or however long you can control your anticipation.

Dig in.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fat Kid Friday: Eat your heart out, McD's Filet o' Fish.

Even as a child, the item I enjoyed the most on the McDonald's menu was the Filet o' Fish sandwich. I often lamented that you couldn't get one in a happy meal. Of course, because it's lent, Mickey D's is offering the tasty little bastards for 2/$2. As you may have noticed, it was the snowpocolypse outside today, so there was no chance I was going to trek to go get one, or the offer for two...or four.

Instead, I decided to do my own semi-tropical take the beloved filet.

Fast food is all about special, secret, super-duper sauces, right? I started to think about flavors I enjoy with fish. I like spice, I like lemon, I like things mayonnaise based. I mixed mayo with plenty of hot sauce, a dollop of ketchup, a squirt of lemon and a healthy sprinkle of Goya con azafron. Then, I chopped up a mango into thin slices.

I just purchased a nice, fresh demi-baguette of seeded Italian bread. While baking breaded whitefish in the oven for about 20 minutes, I sliced it and slathered my secret sauce on both sides. I laid down a base of mango. When the fish was ready, put it atop the mango, covered it with MORE sauce and it was ready to mangia.


Spicy, sweet, creamy and crunchy. I might just have another...now. If only I could get that McD's french fry recipe right...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fat Kid Friday: Egg rolls that look like hot pockets + a (healthy!) Lenten delight

Since it's Lent and I can't eat meat on Fridays, nor can I have my beloved sweets, Fat Kid Friday has become a little trickier. No s'mores can be had, no cakes can be baked, no juicy lamb burgers can be grilled. What to do...what to do...

Inspired by the phyllo dough in my freezer and my newfound love and appreciation for fake crab (I'm allergic, remember, I would do the real thing if I could), I decided to fashion makeshift oven-baked egg rolls. Very Rachael Ray of me.

In my head, it seemed like it would be an easy task. In actuality, I don't appear to have a future in Asian fusion cuisine.

I took out the phyllo dough. I unrolled it. I brushed a layer with butter. Added another layer, then more butter. I repeated this about six times until I had a phyllo base that seemed sturdy. For the filling, I mixed imitation crab with shredded cabbage and carrots, low sodium soy sauce, oriental 5 spice and a little red wine vinegar. I placed a hearty spoon-full in the middle of my phyllo and rolled it up into a cigar shape. I repeated this process several more times, placing the rolls on a baking dish and brushing them one last time with even more butter. After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I put 'em in and baked the suckers for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. When they went in, they looked like a reasonable facsimile of an egg roll...

...when they came out, they looked like hot pockets. Served with a little sweet & sour sauce, they did manage to taste somewhat like egg rolls.


To round out the meal (and make amends to my arteries), I also made this Stir-fried Tofu with Red Cabbage and Winter Squash from the NY Times. It behaved and turned out the way I wanted it to.

Some changes to the recipe - no corn starch for the sauce; no peanut or canola oil, only sesame; red wine vinegar instead of rice wine and more ginger, a lot more. I also cut down the proportions to feed about two...or just me. This former fat kid always ate her veggies :)