Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cooking Thai for Jackson Heights friends

As soon as I printed the recipe I started second guessing myself. What possessed me to make Thai food for friends that live a few blocks from the famous Sri Pra Phai? I was reassured by my friend Jen's presence. She's from DC and lives close to Thai-phoon and Thai-tanic. Less intimidating. The final guest, Zuzana, was vegetarian but I knew she would be content with dessert if all else failed.

I choose a straightforward recipe and for Zuzana's sake, cooked up the shrimp on the side with some garlic and ginger.

Some recipes are fun to cook and some are a chore. This was messy but highly entertaining - mostly due to 3 full size humans peering into a full size wok teetering on one of NYC's tiniest stoves. The end result was really good - not amazing - but very good. I'm guessing it could have used some fish sauce and some Sri Pra Phai magic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What to do with beet greens?

I love roasted beets. Beet greens? Less so. But every time I cut them off and hide them in the trash, I have nightmares about Michael Pollon lecturing me about lost nutrients. I would like to think that a desire to be healthy and use all the beet has to offer motivated me to cook them up tonight. In actuality, it's pouring rain and I'm broke.

First, I cooked some fresh linguine. (A New Englanders' interpretation of fresh is that something was once fresh and now it's in the freezer.) I then pulled the greens away from their tough stalk and sauteed them with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes for about five minutes. I then tossed the wilted greens with the linguine, olive oil, lemon and parmesan cheese.

Simple, healthy...and cheap. And now I can indulge in Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" and leave Pollon's reprimanding voice outside my bedroom.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is the effort worth the reward? Peeling a member of the winter squash family.

Some things I have classified as too much trouble to eat: sunflower seeds, crab claws, shell-on shrimp, tiny-size chiclet gum, nerds, edamame, and walnuts (in addition to tasting what I think earwax would taste like). Usually winter squash.

Last night I made this:

I love tofu, red cabbage, AND squash, so to my delight, I came across a recipe that combined all three. It was delicious. (I doubled the amount of sauce, but that is only because I like extra sauce. I also drained the tofu on a piece of cloth with a plate sitting on top of it.. I think tofu tastes better if it is drier when cooked.)

I was surprised that I even let myself think about making it, because I hate peeling squash so much. I even hate watching other people peel squash. It takes longer than I ever think it will take, and invariably, too much of the precious flesh comes away with the rind. And then, after all that work, there is so little to show for it. I often find (well, found) myself standing in the produce aisle in Whole Foods trying to decide if I should spend $2 on a butternut squash or $5.50 on a package of peeled, pre-cut butternut squash. The package almost always won out. But now that I live in Winthrop, there is no peeled, pre-cut squash. There is, however, an abundance of squash (butternut and delicata) stored in the pantry from last year's harvest.

I chose a small delicata squash and asked Kenton to peel and cut it. And after eating this meal, I have decided that winter squash is worth the effort.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facing down a steak

If steak is on the menu, and I’m not paying, I order it. Some people get cravings for chocolate, peanut butter or Hot Tamales. I get sudden, irresistible cravings for steak. However, I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually purchased steak and cooked it myself. Growing up with a backyard means that I associate steaks with giant grills surrounded my men with a big knifes in one hand and a martinis in the other. I definitely do not associate steaks with a 5th floor walk up apartment and a mini-stove.

But a few nights ago, I gave into my craving and headed to the butcher. Floored by the prices on the Porterhouse, I chose a boneless rib eye steak. I then swallowed my pride and asked the butcher the best way to cook a steak in a NYC apartment. His instructions were flawless.

1) Cover the steak in a generous amount of salt and pepper and let it ‘warm up’ to room temperature.
2) Heat a heavy cast iron skilled for ten minutes with nothing on it.
3) Add a few drops of vegetable oil (not butter or olive oil as it will burn!)
4) When the oil starts to smoke, add the steak and cook four minutes a side for rare…a bit more for medium rare.
5) Remove the steak and let it sit for 6 minutes.
6) Slice and serve. And don’t think about how much it cost.