Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sous Vide Pork Roast with Savory Fennel Bread Pudding

Just when I came up with a new game plan to be able to cook a bit more, my life is going through some more upheaval. I'll write about that more as it happens, but for now one implication is that I need to start using up my stockpile of proteins in the chest freezer. To help me with this, I invited a couple friends over for a simple dinner the other night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mmmm... Leftovers...

Quick post about the two best reasons for Thanksgiving: The Soup... and The Sandwich.

A Low-Maintenance Thanksgiving

Oh. Hello, there. Long time, no write. Things haven’t been so great around here, pain-wise, so it’s been hard to spend much time in the kitchen (or doing much of anything worth writing about, really). I have an idea of how I may be able to start posting here again, which I’ll write about this week, but first I managed to put together a Thanksgiving feast for myself with minimal time in the kitchen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cookbook Adventures: Momofuku Ramen

A little over a year and a half after buying the book, I finally got around to making the dish I knew I had to make: Last night, I finally made Momofuku Ramen for dinner (fresh alkaline noodles and all).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Big Box of Produce

I’m trying a new thing with produce delivery from Boston Organics. Every other week, I’ll receive the “Dogma Box” of locally sourced organic goodness, delivered to my door. For as long as I can handle it, I will be doing a Big Box of Produce post about what I do with the contents of my, um, big box of produce. Everything that came in this delivery was absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfect-er Perfect Ricotta

I've continued to make fresh ricotta pretty frequently using the sous vide method from Ideas in Food that I outlined in a previous post. This became even easier when I got my chamber vacuum, making it possible to vacuum-seal the bag of ingredients without messing around with having to seal a zip-top bag inside a vacuum bag. The one thing that was still bugging me was having to go through cheesecloth during production. Over the course of the past few months, I've come up with a (quite ghetto-looking) solution to this problem, so I figured I would share it here. The new method has taken my perfect ricotta and made it even perfecter...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Short-Term House Guest

I've got a 10-week old rescued angora bunny staying with me for a few days while it awaits transport to a shelter in Rhode Island, and it (indefinite pronouns since gender is unknown as of yet) is blowing my mind with its cuteness. I've temporarily named him/her "Trouble."

Still My Favorite Way to Cook Corn...

Corn was on sale $1.50 per 6-pack last time I ordered groceries, so I had no choice but to order lots of corn. I was originally thinking of doing a "creamed" corn with basil (which I mentioned, among other things, in this post), but then the first issue of Lucky Peach arrived at my door, and as David Chang wrote about ramen I remembered how awesome it was making his ramen broth, and then I remembered how I had ramen broth in the freezer... and remembered the dish for which I had made it... and I instantly knew (well, instantly once all that remembering was done) what I had to make with my giant pile of corn: Roasted Sweet Summer Corn with Miso Butter, Bacon, and Roasted Onions.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I turned 32 a few weeks ago, and had a dinner party with friends this past weekend to celebrate. Thanks to the total awesomeness of my friends, it was an incredibly fun evening. The food didn't turn out too shabby either. A few highlights below...

Blueberry Goodness

I've been on a blueberry kick lately, pretty much ever since they were on sale at a too-good-to-pass-up price and I was reminded how awesome they are. While I enjoy just eating them on their own, my favorite thing to do with them is to make Blueberry Clafouti. The first recipe I tried was the one here, and it never gave me any reason to move on to experimenting with any other... I like to rewarm them to have with my morning coffee, or to serve with a soup of vanilla frozen yogurt as dessert. Simple, quick, and totally delicious.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Playing with a New Toy: Applewood-Smoked Scallops with Spring "Succotash" and Bacon Beurre Blanc

After months on my mental wish list, a cool new toy arrived at my door for my birthday: The Smoking Gun. I knew I wanted to play with smoking a scallop first... and thought about pairing bacon with the smokiness... and also using gorgeous spring favas and asparagus... This is what I came up with:
The Bacon Beurre Blanc broke under the heat of the smoke (I'll be tweaking that component today... update to follow), but the flavors of this dish were amazing. It was almost as though I am a genius...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bunnies!

My bunnies are the cutest bunnies in the history of the world. When Charley comes outside with me on his own, he runs all over the place and goes off to binky in the grass. When he comes out with his brothers, he doesn't want to go anywhere. Bunny love is the best.

Cookbook Adventures: Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

So, here's the thing: I've had this cookbook for years, but on the back flap is a photo of the author. Every time I see that photo, I think to myself "Um... I don't think this is going to turn out well..."In spite of this (understandable, yeah?) trepidation, I tried his Caesar Salad recipe a few weeks back with Mindy and it rocked, so I decided to forge ahead and try another recipe that sounded great to me: Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
It's a bit on the rustic-looking side, but it's so delicious that I don't really care. I'll admit to not following his recipe 100% (I mean... look at him! Plus, I have a sous vide obsession...), but this dish was fantastic and I will definitely make it many many many more times.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Compressed Melon and a Gorgeous Summer Salad

When I was ordering groceries last week, sale prices dictated that I had no choice but to order a watermelon. While this fruit is delicious and refreshing on its own, it also presented a fun opportunity to play with compressing fruit using my new favorite toy...The watermelon on the left is freshly cut, while that on the right has been compressed. Nothing added but pressure. Pretty cool, yeah? Which would you rather put on your fresh, beautiful summer salad?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cryo-Blanching to Improve a Classic

If you know me at all, you have probably noticed that I have an obsession with fava beans. I can't explain it. I just love them beyond all reason. I eagerly anticipate the approach of fava bean season every year, buy a big pile of them almost every weekend when they are in season, and then mourn for a while when the season cruelly and inevitably ends...

FYI: Prosciutto Powder is Awesome

I was screwing around in the kitchen last weekend, trying to think of more fun things to do with scallops... and fava beans. I wanted to incorporate a ham-y flavor, and I had been reading a few posts of people making the ham powder from the Alinea cookbook... but I didn't have any ham. I did, however, have some prosciutto in the freezer, so I decided to see if I could make it work. Turns out it does work... And it's awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By the way...

... The bunnies are still in love. If you click to embiggen the top picture, you can catch a glimpse of Charley's little tongue as he grooms Rico... The bottom picture was taken after Rico left to eat some hay and Pedro took his place so he could start grooming Charley...
All three of my guys seem way happier ever since they starting being a trio (rather than a duo of toothless lops and a solitary Rico...).

A Good Use for Extra Strawberries

I found myself with a bit of a dilemma this week: I have a policy that if I buy produce and it goes bad before I eat it, I put myself on produce-buying probation (with respect to that item) for several months. (I'm pretty much not allowed to buy peaches or grapefruit ever again unless I have an immediate use planned.) Strawberries had been on sale half-price during my last grocery order, and have been so delicious lately that I ordered more than I could possibly consume. I enjoyed them on their own at breakfast and sliced up on top of Crescent Ridge vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert... and then forgot about them in the fridge until it was almost too late and I feared that I was going to end up on strawberry-buying probation. Luckily, smittenkitchen posted a recipe for Strawberry Summer Cake just as I sat down to figure out what to do with the last of my strawberries.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Fun (and Yumminess) in the Kitchen...

Things are non-ideal in La Casa de Emmo lately, but awesome friends and yummy food are always a great distraction from pain and other badness. My friends Mindy and Joe came by last weekend for dinner and playing-with-chemicals and were the perfect mood-lifter.Link

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Human Again

So, I had my cyborg parts removed on May 3. It was oddly sudden. I had spoken to the administrative assistant of Dr. Awesome (my neurosurgeon), and she said that he could see me on June 29 and we could start planning the surgery afterward. I e-mailed Dr. Awesome that Friday and he was like "I'm so glad you e-mailed. We can do the surgery on Tuesday if you'd like." Sweet . These things?

Not a part of me anymore. The recovery from surgery was my best-ever. The surgery was at 1pm, and I was ready to leave at 7pm when my awesome friends came to pick me up. We hung out at my apartment afterward with some pizza and wine. Best surgery day ever.

Despite some early promise, the cyborg parts just weren't able to help me the way I had hoped they could. I discovered around Christmas that my underlying pain was getting worse and worse whenever the stimulator was on, even as it was masking pain (up to about a 5 on the pain scale) in the meantime. I stopped using the spinal stimulator after that, but my pain continued to be fairly out of control. My adorable programmer tried several new programs, but all of them were causing additional pain when they were on. My hope was that the sharp increase in pain over the last 7 months was due to the presence of my cyborg parts, rather than to some permanent side-effect of their presence.

So far, there's no indication that the surgery is helping my ankle pain, but I'm still glad to be 100% human again. The pulse generator in my hip was a nuisance (it would get caught on the back of my cooking stool whenever I stood up, and I would snag it with my hand when tucking in my shirt...) and I love having it gone. If it couldn't help anymore, there was no reason to leave it there.

In the meantime, things remain fairly shitty. I can't work anymore. I can't drive more than a couple miles without adding some serious bonus pain. I can seldom leave my apartment (about once every 2 weeks seems to be my limit in terms of the amount of pain I can handle gracefully). I went to a super-fun Scotch-pairing dinner down the street last night, and my ankles are making me pay for it today. (I went in my wheelchair, so it's not as if I did anything crazy like walking or standing... It's fairly exasperating at this point.) I'll be starting with a new pain clinic soon (one where Dr. Ass-face is not the head of the department), and I figure there's about a 1% chance that we can find something to improve my situation. Trying to keep hope alive, but that's not always so easy at this point.

I'll be back in the kitchen this weekend with some Chemistry Adventures and a modified Thomas Keller recipe... Should be good times...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everyday Yumminess: Mini Shrimp Cheesecakes

Alright. Let's go ahead and get the shameful part of this out of the way at the start: This is an Emeril Lagasse recipe. For me, he eventually came to represent everything that went horribly wrong with The Food Network... but back in his Essence of Emeril days (before "BAM!") he wasn't so bad. And the fact that this Shrimp Cheesecake is absurdly delicious has forced me to come to terms with the fact that even obnoxious TV chefs can still write some kick-ass recipes. Without further ado, let's talk about Shrimp Cheesecake.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Everyday Yumminess: Soft Polenta Integrale with Wild Mushroom Ragout

I remember the first time I read through the Momofuku cookbook that David Chang says there's basically no point making polenta if you're not going to get your polenta from Anson Mills. In the next few weeks, I read several other chefs and authors saying the exact same thing, so I knew I'd better give it a try. The other day I was poking around their recipe pages and saw something that I really wanted to eat right now. Thus, it was on.The finished dish may not have been much to look at, but I already can't wait to make it again...

Cookbook Adventures: Marrow Beans with Merguez, Pistachios, and Honey

When I got my heirloom bean cookbook, the first recipe that jumped out at me was Marrow Beans with Merguez, Pistachios, and Honey. I had some homemade Merguez in the freezer and all of the ingredients sounded like my kind of thing...... but in the end (and this is something I almost never say) there seemed to be too much going on. I thought my homemade Merguez tasted fantastic, but everything else seemed to detract from it...

Bunnies!

Hi there. It has apparently been almost a month since last I posted, so I figured I'd ease back in with some bunnies. My computer broke, and I lost some great pictures of the guys there... but they've been doing some pretty cute things to try to make up for that. First up, isn't Pedro the sweetest little angel ever, taking a nap on/hugging Rico's butt?
I encourage you to click on that picture to embiggen it. His little face is so sweet.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cookbook "Adventures": Salmon and Wasabi Ravioli with Kaffir Lime Cream

I have to be honest that this isn't much of an "adventure," since I've been making this recipe for almost a decade... but it is from a book by an author who was one of my very favorites when I first started cooking: Donna Hay. As soon as I read this recipe title, my reaction was "Well, obviously I'm going to have to make that..."

Bunnies!

Lots of random bunny snuggles to post today. The guys are all totally in love, and seem to get more and more affectionate with each other every day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Everyday Yumminess: Perfect Ricotta

So, I am about to blow your mind by telling you how to make the world's easiest, most delicious fresh ricotta... while spending a total of about 5 minutes in the kitchen. Best. Recipe. Ever.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Everyday Yumminess: Grilled Chicken with Lemon Fregula

I'm on a mission to start using the cool ingredients in my pantry rather than just looking at them. This weekend the pantry item I decided to play with was fregula, a toasted Sardinian pasta. Turns out it's absolutely delicious...

Bunnies!

More shots of Rico and his friend Charley this week... After watching them fight for over a year, it still makes me chuckle to see them so happy together. Whether they're snacking on some carrot tops that a nice lady brought them...
or practicing their synchronized lounging...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chemistry Adventures: Arugula Noodles

This was a quick and easy little chemistry adventure that ended up being pretty awesome. I saw the recipe over at one of my favorite places to get molecular gastronomy guidance, and instantly knew I had to give it a go.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bunnies al Fresco(-ish)!

So, there are still a couple feet of snow covering the yard, but I decided to get the bunnies some fresh air today. I set up a litter box and a rug on the porch, sat down in my reclining patio chair, and observed the cuteness. Perhaps the most adorable moment I captured was after I had gone in to fetch a hoodie (55°F only felt warm enough for a T-shirt until the wind kicked up):

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bunnies!

Quick update on the bunnies. Everyone is happy and healthy and adorably in love with one another. Charley and Rico have a weird bond that cracks me up while warming the cockles of my cold cold heart.

Chemistry & Cookbook Adventures: Shrimp Mosaic with Avocado-Melon Salsa

As I've mentioned, I'm playing with meat glue these days, but I can't really explain why I made this dish. I had some shrimp. I had some meat glue. I read a recipe in Ideas in Food where you glue a bunch of shrimp together. Seemed like the universe really wanted me to try it. Who am I to blow against the wind?

Chemistry Adventures: Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Celery Root Cream

This isn't much of a post, I suppose. I made an awesome celery root cream the other day while learning how to perfectly cook scallops. I also made my first-ever home-cured bacon, using meat glue for the first time in the process. The only natural next step was to glue some bacon to some scallops, cook to perfection, then serve with that sauce...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cookbook & Chemistry Adventures: Homemade Fresh Bacon

I ordered some transglutaminase (aka Meat Glue) a few weeks back, and started to play with it recently. My first experiment with meat glue was the most boring thing you can imagine: gluing two pieces of meat together to make one (bigger) piece of meat. Nonetheless, it was kind of awesome, and prompted me to make my first ever batch of home-cured bacon.