I was in New York last weekend. That doesn’t have anything to do with this pizza, though. I just thought you might want to know. While I was there, we (we, meaning me and the gals who blog for the Family Kitchen on Babble) went out to dinner in SoHo, where I was introduced to my new favorite cheese. Apparently I have spent thirty four years in absolute darknss, not knowing the glory that is burrata mozzarella. Everyone, please start asking your stores to carry it. Let’s change the world.
The next day, Brooke from Cheeky Kitchen, Shaina from Food for My Family, and I kicked it around Manhattan. We saw Central Park and the Upper West Side, got cookies at Levain Bakery, hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya (didn’t go to Zabar’s though), and afterward saw West Side Story on Broadway. We wished we had gone to see the Adam’s Family instead, though.
We had a blast, and I left thinking how at home I had felt there.
Anyway, after all that great food, I came home wanting something really good. Something not boring, something seasonal and fresh. This pizza is what I came up with.
The other night, as my kids and I were driving home, we saw a huge golden moon peaking out between two mountains just north of where we live. It was a hint of the promise of fall.
I love when the weather finally lets go of the shackling heat and and lets in wind and rain and changing leaves. I made this savory bruschetta as a little celebration of my favorite season.
Oh, and just a quick announcement, random.org chose one of my favorite people from high school to win the food mill and baby cookbook. So a toast to Molly, too, and to her two little boys! (Did you see that? I used to, two, and too, all in the same sentence! My second grader would be impressed.)
It’s been awhile since I have posted anything in the well-fed section. I have been blogging with Babble.com so much that I feel like I’ve gained ten pounds, so Plus, my last several entries here have been a long list shameless desserts.
Anyway, I thought it was high time I posted something we ate for dinner around here. This pasta dish was something I came up with from stuff I had in the fridge, and I must say I was a bit unimpressed with it at first, but the more I sampled, the more I loved it. I used some zucchini someone gave me from their garden and some chicken and apple sausage I had in the freezer. I thought these flavors seemed very fall-ish and wonderful, so to them I added some fresh sage. However, since it’s still hot here, and I’m not quite ready to curl up by a fire, I thought I’d add a dash of lemon to keep the dish bright.
One thing I want to mention: tomorrow I will be on AmberLee’s The Giver’s Log blog for a bit. So stay tuned, and I’ll give you the link when it’s up!
I’ve been working on this recipe for awhile, and though I still haven’t gotten it exactly the way I want it, it’s pretty good. The thing with Indian food is it’s tricky to get a perfect recipe because everyone has their own. I have put this together based on what the nice people down at my local Indian restaurant have told me, the ingredients list on the back of a Tandoor Chef box, America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best International Recipe, and bits and pieces from the Food Network. I imagine I will make improvements to this as I make it through the years.
When I say “dinner party” here, I mean the dinner itself is the party. By no means am I suggesting you invite guests to eat these with you. That would mean you’d have to share.
A nice old man was giving away samples of this Brazilian sausage on Saturday. It was so good, and it reminded me of Paella. The next thing I knew, I was hunting around for some shrimp to go with it. But honestly, after a month of cooking like a crazy woman for my other blog, the last thing I wanted to do was get out a humongous pan and throw everything under the sun into it. For starters, I’d be the only one eating it, and secondly, there’s only one of me, and that would be a lot of food. Two of my kids are occasionally brave, but all three tend to avoid dishes where everything is sort of thrown together.
Yes, my friends. That’s what good Pad Thai is: pure happiness.
When my friend Julie and I were in England a couple of summers ago, we discovered how important it was to make reservations at restaurants on Saturday nights. Unfortunately, we learned a little too late. After we had sat in the Loch Fyne in Henley-on-Thames for about an hour, we realized getting a table might just take until the next morning. We left and wandered in the drizzle to a nearby Thai restaurant. Looking back on that night, I realize the Pad Thai we ordered was not that great, but since we were so hungry, and so tired, it tasted like food from the gods.
The very first time I ate Pad Thai was when Shannon made it for me. She followed the recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The New Best Recipe. Although I have never bought it on the streets in Bangkok, from what I understand, it’s pretty close. It isn’t like some of the reddish, greasy versions of pad thai you find in American restaurants (or English restaurants, apparently), it’s lighter, tangier, and in my opinion, perfectly wonderful.
However, since I can easily down the full recipe by myself in one day, I decided it would be better to make with whole grain noodles instead of the traditional rice stick which is made from white rice. I also cut back on the sugar by replacing it with Agave nectar.
The way I make this is a mixture of what I learned from that book, how I saw Shannon make it, and how I have adapted it myself over the years. I hope you enjoy making it.
The ingredients I list can be hard to find, but some of them are really crucial to the taste. Since that is the case, I’ll give you links to some of the products for those of you who don’t have a nice Asian store to buy them.
fish sauce (If you’re kosher or vegetarian, though, go ahead and use soy sauce)
chili sauce This Huy Fong Sriracha is available all over the place, but if you can’t find it, you can order it, or just use a pinch of cayenne pepper. (But Connie, you can just leave it out altogether, the Pad Thai will still be great!)
tamarind Tamarind is the trickiest ingredient here, but it’s really essential. The recipe just won’t taste right without it. And usually it’s pretty hard to find (Thank goodness for amazon!).
The only other real option for substituting tamarind is tamarind paste. It will make your noodles darker, but it tastes okay. Here is a link for it, though it looks like amazon isn’t selling it right now. This was the brand I used when I lived in Colorado, though, and I found it at Whole Foods.
Apparently, these are really called pasties in England, so you can call them whatever you want.
I decided on these for the winter picnic because I wanted something that was warm and not messy. I kept thinking of a calzone, but those can get tomato sauce everywhere if you aren’t careful. Plus, I wanted to make something that was a little more around-the-campfire-ish feeling, and I couldn’t think of anything more homey and inviting than a stew.
All I did was make a chicken stew, or the insides of a chicken pot pie. Then I cooked it inside a pie crust. They were really tasty, and perfect for an outside meal in the cold.
Orecchiette is a pasta which literally means “little ears.” I love it because each piece acts as a little dish for the sauce. If you can’t find it at the grocery store (I found mine at Super Target), then you could substitute shells, rigatoni, penne, or anything you like that will trap the sauce and produce the most flavor.
I wanted this dish to taste like fall, so I used some lovely fresh sage leaves and chicken stock, but if I could do it again, and if I didn’t live next to all the grocery stores that don’t carry it, I would have added some shallots. Whenever I cook those, the whole house smells like Thanksgiving. They’re perfect.
The goat cheese brings a nice tang to the dish and balances out the flavors, and the toasted pepitas add a bit of crunch and texture.
Alright, alright, the succotash has a lot of ingredients, and so maybe this isn’t the most simple recipe, but just look at it sitting there all by itself. I said simplicity more for the way it looks.
Have you ever tried making succotash before? It’s great. You just start with the corn, and then throw in anything that sounds good. I also tried making this with bacon and cream. It was good, but a little heavy. The Thai-ish version is a bit lighter for summer.
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We’ve been watching a lot of Kung Fu Panda lately. The movie stirred up strong craving for noodles in my nine-year-old. This is what I came up with. He insisted on eating the soup with chopsticks.
I now present to you: Kung Fu Panda Soup.