Friday, April 28, 2006

Pasta with Eggs

Everyone has their basic, everday dish — something you can make after a long day at work using only the ingredients already in your kitchen. Preferably, this will be a dish that you can eat out of a bowl while watching "The Sopranos." And once your quota of violence and family feuding is up, there really shouldn't be that many dishes.

This is my dish. You can use asparagus or any number of green vegetables (or none at all) in place of the spinach, and adjust the seasoning as you like.

Pasta with Eggs
fettucine
2 eggs
some cayenne powder
some garlic powder
olive oil
spinach (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

Put a large pot of water to boil.

optional bit:
In a medium saucepan, heat up a tablesppon or two of olive oil, and add the garlic. Stir for a minute, then add spinach or other greens. Once the spinach has turned dark green and withered, season it with salt and pepper and place it in a bowl.

Once the water has boiled, salt well and add the fettucine.
In a medium saucepan (I use the same one I used for the spinach), add olive oil and heat over a medium-high flame. Crack two eggs into the pan and lower the heat. While the eggs cook, add spices. Do not flip the eggs over. When done, the whites will be set, the yolks still runny.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot. Add the eggs and spinach. Toss, breaking the yolk as you do so so that the yolk forms a sauce for the pasta.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Asparagus With Miso Butter and Poached Eggs

This is a dish to serve to someone that you're trying to seduce. It is so wonderful, and so gratifying, that I can not imagine anyone saying no to its preparer.

The secret, of course, is an ungodly amount of fat. This recipe, from the NY Times's Mark Bittman, combines Japanese methods and flavors with the old French technique of compound butter. Compound butter comes from the idea that anything that tastes good would taste a hell of a lot better if it was melted in a pan with a half pound of butter. It's a brilliant concept, and one of several reasons the French have long been considered masters of culinary arts.

Like the others on this site, this a simple recipe. Miso, the only unusual ingredient, should be available in Asian supermarkets, health food stores, and gourmet shops.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons oil
1 pound asparagus, bottoms cut off
Salt and pepper
¼ cup not-too-salty miso, preferably white
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
2 poached (or warm-bath-cooked) eggs.

Poaching Eggs: (this can be done before the rest of the meal, or while the asparagus is cooking)

1. Bring an inch of water to boil in skillet, add salt and vinegar, and lower heat so it barely bubbles. One at a time, break eggs into a shallow bowl and slip into simmering water. Cover skillet or spoon water over eggs.

2. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, just until white is set and yolk has filmed over. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Asparagus and Miso Butter:

1. Put oil or fat in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add as much asparagus as will fit in a layer, add salt and pepper to taste, and toss and stir until browned and shriveled, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, over low heat in a small saucepan, warm and whisk together miso and butter, so they combine, and butter softens but does not melt. Whisk in vinegar and keep warm. Warm a serving plate.

3. When asparagus is done, put some miso butter on bottom of serving plate. Blot excess fat from asparagus if you like, put on top of the miso butter, and top with poached eggs. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

From New York Times, 4/19/06

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Online Cooking Classes

eGullet is posting online cooking courses -- the "classes" have several page-long descriptions of various topics, with photos to illustrate each step and a discussion forum that allows you to ask the teacher any questions you might have. Classes range from knife skills, to regional Indian cooking, to cocktails. Recipes are included.

In other web-related cooking tips, simplyrecipes.com has a "Tips and Tricks" section with detailed descriptions (also with pics) on such topics as poaching eggs and preparing artichokes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Frittata with Camelized Onions

Frittatas are to cooking what the little black dress is to female fashion. They can be served at any meal, with any accompaniement, hot or cold. With some decent bread they’re a great sandwich, with a salad and some wine they make an impressive dinner, cut up and served cold they’re perfect on a picnic. You can fill them with any combination of herbs, cheese, and cooked vegetables you want. This is one my favorite versions, and, although it takes a little longer than most recipes I use, it’s an incredibly cheap collection of ingredients that yield a phenomenal meal.

You’ll need an ovenproof skillet for this, something that every kitchen should have. That means a 10- or 12-inch pan that’s all metal – any rubber will melt in the oven. If you don’t have one, one of these will set you back about $10 to $20, and can be used for a great deal of your cooking.

½ tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil

¾ pounds thinly sliced onions

1/8 cup white wine

pepper

6 large eggs

½ cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp. minced parsley (optional)

salt and pepper

1 tbsp. virgin or extra-virgin olive oil

Carmelizing Onions:

1. melt the butter/heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook just until they begin to soften, about 8 minutes

2. Add some salt and the wine, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about ½ an hour. (While waiting you can start prepping the other ingredients)

3. Remove the cover, raise the heat to medium, and cook, until the onions are browned. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Frittata:

1. Preheat the broiler (use the broil or 450 setting). The rack should be directly under the heat.

2. Using a fork, beat all of the ingredients except the oil in a bowl.

3. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet (see not above) over medium heat. Swirl the pan so that the oil coats the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the egg mixture and stir briefly with a fork

5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the frittata.

6. Continue cooking until the bottom is done but the top is still a little raw, about 8 more minutes

1. Turn off the heat, place the pan uner the broiler and cook until golden-brown, one or two minutes

2. Serve


Adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, by Jack Bishop

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic

I have a secret test for most of my basic recipes, the ones that I hope to use on just about anyone who drops by my kitchen and wants something to eat. These recipes need to be simple enough to prepare while drinking beer and chatting and tasty enough should the person who dropped by be, say, an incredibly picky eater named Julie. This recipe fits the bill perfectly, and works in just about every season (although I eat it mostly during the cold months). In fact, if you happen to find any of the deep purple or neon green cauliflower that shows up at some groceries and farmers' markets, it's quite beautiful, as well. The secret of making this phenomenal are using generous amounts of good olive oil and salt.

The exact same method can be used with asparagus, for a more seasonable approach.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic
one head cauliflower
at least three large cloves of garlic, preferrably more
about 1/4 cup virgin or extra-virgin olive oil
salt, pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425.
2. Cut cauliflower into small florets. You want the peices to be bite-sized.
3. Cut garlic into chunks.
4. Spread the cauliflower and garlic on a baking sheet, and pour olive oil over them. Shake on salt and pepper to taste. Personally, I like my salt applied quite generously.
5. Making sure your hands are clean, rub the cauliflower and garlic around with your hands so that the oil, salt, and pepper are distributed relatively evenly. [Another, less messy, way to do this is to put all the ingredients in a plastic bag and use the bag to rub the ingredients together. It works just as well, but it seems unnecessarily fussy to me]
6. Put the baking pan in the oven, and cook for at least 20 minutes, turning the cauliflower over when it starts to turn brown. The cauliflower and the garlic should carmelize, turning a gorgeous golden brown around the edges.

Lazy Week for Me, But a Good Week for The Times

I've been away for a little while, and therefore not posting. But I'm back, and I'll post several recipes over the next couple days. In the mean time, I thought you guys should check out the NY Times Dining section today, Mark Bittman has two great, veggie-friendly articles, one on poached eggs in Japanese style cooking, and one on artichokes. I'll post some of the yummier-looking recipes once I've tested them out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Blueberry Muffins

I usually use frozen blueberries for these muffins, although fresh blueberries would work just as well. If using frozen, don't try to thaw them first -- they'll turn the muffins blue-gray.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup blueberries

Directions

Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Butter 16 standard muffin cups.

In a bowl, stir and toss together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, butter and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Add the blueberries and stir just until evenly incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan. Makes about 16 standard muffins.

From the Williams-Sonoma website.

How to Make Perfect Pasta

Everyone knows how to make pasta; few people know how to make pasta well. A couple of extra steps might seem fussy, but they make all the difference.

1. Bring water to boil. Use far more water than you suspect is necessary.

2. Once the water is boiling (and I mean rolling, huge bubbles breaking to the surface boiling), throw in a lot of salt. Not just a few wimpy shakes, think at least a teaspoon. The salt will be absorbed by the cooking pasta and will accentuate its taste.

3. Put in pasta, cook until almost done, but still a little chewy.

4. Drain

5. If using sauce, put the pasta back into the pot and stir the sauce in there.

6. Serve and enjoy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Garlic Soup With Poached Eggs

I found this recipe when I had a horrific, lie-in-bed-and-wish-I-was-dead style cold. It was raining outside, and the thought of going to the grocery store or, for that matter, doing any actual cooking, was too much for me. This was the only thing I could get myself to eat.

Although it requires almost no work or ingredients, this soup is amazingly luxurious tasting. It also falls into one of my favorite categories -- soups that don't require long periods of time or blenders.

Garlic Soup With Poached Eggs


1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

4 parsley sprigs

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 eggs, as needed

Chopped parsley, for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Crusty bread, optional.

1. In a large saucepan, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, bay leaf, parsley sprigs and olive oil. Add 2 quarts of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil; then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Pour through a fine-meshed strainer into a heatproof bowl, pressing on the garlic to squeeze out as much flavor into the broth as possible. Let cool and then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.

3. To prepare a serving for one, ladle about 1 1/3 cups of broth into a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Carefully break an egg into the broth (do not break the yolk) and poach until the white is just set, about 1 1/2 minutes. (It will continue to cook off the heat.) Transfer the egg to a soup bowl and pour the broth gently over it. Garnish with parsley and cheese. If desired, serve with crusty bread.

Makes 6 servings for one.

From the NY Times, 4/2/2006, and adapted from Julia Child's ''Mastering the Art of French Cooking.''

Intro Post

My brother became a vegetarian three years after I did, when he was first entering college. Like myself, he became a vegetarian before he learned to cook, so the lifestyle has meant a changed view of food and of cooking. This blog is my initial attempt to gather recipes and tips for Eli and all the other college students and first apartment-types who are learning to cook and need to produce fast, yummy, and nutritious meals with a minimum of fuss or equipment. We'll see how it goes.