The next time you're hosting a brunch, consider vegetable migas, a spicy Mexican egg dish or if you have a table full of carnivores, you can add chorizo instead of the zucchini or spinach I used. Make your own tortilla chips, too!
CLICK HERE for the recipe, a link to my most recent story for Marie Claire, showing you the easy steps to a Mexican-style brunch or dinner.
Sorry I've been away for so long! I wanted you all to know that tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 26th, the famous Patsy's Pizzeria will be celebrating its 76th Anniversary with a very budget-friendly promotion. If you've never been, this is the best deal you're going to find.
From 11-4pm at its East Harlem location (at 118th St. and First Ave.) Patsy's will be selling its famous coal-oven pizza pies for Depression-era prices! $.60 for whole pies, $.90 steaks (12 oz.) and sodas for $.10! But get there early; there's sure to be a line.
Check it out tomorrow if you're in NYC and let me know how it goes!
PS: Check out my article on nectarnews.com about Patsy's benefit tomorrow for education!
As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. My grandmother, an Italian who simultaneously ran a own business and loved to cook, mostly used her kitchen as an office.
It wasn't unusual to hear Nana conducting said business on the phone while preparing meatballs at the kitchen table. The sauce would simmer all day on the stove, and in the meantime, she'd set up appointments while dipping white bread in an egg mixture, and adding other (secret) ingredients to the mix before rolling her meatballs to perfection. She did it so effortlessly, it hardly seemed to take any concentration at all. When she wasn't working, she was often on the phone, gossiping. The problem was, her phone was attached to the wall (she was never one to embrace new technology) and she had a hard time walking.
This is where I came in.
As her faithful eldest granddaughter with a pension for gossip (I earned the nickname "yenta" pretty quickly), I spent a lot of time fetching things for Nana, while she sat: mainly breadcrumbs. To this day, I can't look at a the large blue Progresso breadcrumb cylinder without thinking of her.
Along the way, I learned a few things that I'd later add to my own dinner repertoire. One of them is stuffed peppers. I had never made them until last week, and they were so delicious, inexpensive (green peppers are a dollar each!) I thought I'd share. They can be made really any way you want - you can substitute the meat or make them vegetarian. I chose ground chicken and they were delightful as a main dish with a little left over for lunch the next day.
Stuffed Peppers, a la Nana O (serves 2-3)
4 green peppers
1 pkg ground chicken
1 white onion, diced
1 jar tomato sauce (or make your own)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Cut the tops off of the peppers and then dice that part and set aside in a bowl. Cut out seeds and white veins inside until hollowed out. Rinse out any remains.
Dice white onion and add to the bowl.
Coat a frying pan with vegetable oil, and add minced garlic, on low. Add the bit of diced peppers, along with the onion to the pan and cook until they begin to get soft.
Preheat oven to 425.
Rinse ground chicken meat and pat dry. Add salt and pepper to ground chicken, and add to the pan, on medium heat. With a spatula, break apart meat into pieces as it starts to cook. Once browned, cover with tomato sauce and remove from heat.
Spoon the mixture into the peppers and bake, for 20-30 minutes or until soft. In the last few minutes, add cheese to the tops and enjoy!!
I love when I find a recipe for something that looks good and requires
an unusual ingredient I actually have on hand. It doesn't happen very
often, but when it does, I'll usually make it right away.
For the past week, I've had a quart of light buttermilk in my fridge. Buttermilk seems to last forever - the expiration date is far longer than regular milk - yet I usually never know what to do with it and end up throwing it out. I don't understand why it's never sold by the pint, like light whipping cream.
Anyway, when I got back from a bridal shower on Sunday and opened my present from the bride-to-be (a box of cupcake mix and measuring spoons), I was delighted that the recipe included buttermilk. I don't have much of a sweet tooth myself, but I made them anyway, figuring I could take them to work with me the next day for my fellow cubicle dwellers.
Since the recipe I used came from a mix, here is one that's very similar so you can re-create it. What I love about these cupcakes is that the buttermilk makes them slightly tangy and salty. I ended up eating mine without frosting because I'm more of a savory person, but I iced the ones for my co-workers with Pillsbury vanilla icing I still had from the party.
I know, I keep talking about this infamous party. It was a good one. And I'll post the recipe for the fried ravioli as well next. So if you happen to have buttermilk around, you'll have two useful ways to use it up! Anyone have other uses for buttermilk? I've yet to make fried chicken with it, and I have to say, I probably won't attempt it. Living alone + anything fried = disaster. Check out my list about Things I've Learned from Living Alone on marieclaire.com. And now, for the recipe:
Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Makes 2 dozen cupcakes
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a
mixing bowl. Add egg, yolk, water,
buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat, either by hand or in mixer on low, until smooth.
Fill each cup 2/3 of the way.
Bake until golden brown and the knife comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool in
tins for at least 20 mins before icing.
I didn't make icing this time, but here is my favorite icing to make for parties from the cookbook The Good, The Bad & The Yummy, that takes hardly any time, but looks really impressive. I made it for a party I had last year (I happened to have baking chocolate on hand from an event I had been to for Scharffen-Berger. See the trend?) It's so smooth and glossy, it looks like a real bakery made it:
Homemade Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 1/4 cups heavy cream 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a heavy saucepan. Remove from
the heat. Pile the chocolate into the saucepan and let it sit for 5
minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth and shiny. Let cool
in the fridge for 20 minutes to make it more spreadable, then frost
your cake-mix cake.
Happy baking! And let me know if you have any more ideas for buttermilk!
Earlier, I Twittered about eating samosas that I had frozen before last week's party. Normally, I actually do hate leftovers, even just the sound of it.
But I wondered if anyone had ever considered a left-over "party." Anyway. It was an innocent enough question, as I have tons of frozen appetizers that never saw the light of day in the freezer and even more bottles of wine waiting to be uncorked. With a big green salad and hearty glasses of pinot, it sounded like a half decent idea.
Well, apparently, the New York Times doesn't approve. But I think the story they chose to tell was kind of strange.
Here's an excerpt of today's "Even to Save Cash, Don't Try This Stuff at Home" :
( "Ramon Estrada has saver’s remorse, foodie style. Hoping to save on
groceries and avoid costly restaurant meals about three months ago, he
accepted almost two dozen steak and fish filets from someone who
offered his family their uncooked party leftovers."
"The family ate
some of the surf-and-turf on the spot. It tasted delicious, but about
four hours later, 'I’m completely feeling horrible,' said Mr. Estrada,
27. 'Cramping stomach, the most horrible thing ever.'
Estrada’s brother had to be rushed to the emergency room. Mr. Estrada
became so dehydrated that he also had to see a doctor a few days later,
at the cost of at least $400 for drugs and treatment and four days of
'We learned something,' he said. 'Saving money wasn’t worth all of that.'' )
I feel for them. No one wants to get food poisoning, but really, New York Times ? A family who eats someone else's uncooked meat gets sick and we're supposed to learn...what, exactly? Not to take meat from strangers? It seems odd that they chose this kind of random story to
tell when there are so many others about people trying to save money but not being successful - like when people buy food in bulk because they think it's cheap and then they end up never using it and throwing it out later. What do you think?
The 2009 Governor's Island Jazz Age Lawn party is right around the corner (Saturday, June 6th and Sunday June 7th) and guess what? They're holding a really fun pie contest on Saturday, June 6th!
So dig up that amazing pie recipe you have stashed away and enter. The categories are: "Most Original", "Mom's Best," "Hobo's Choice", and "Best Savory."
If you want to participate, you can pre-register by emailing my lovely friend, Sarah Liston at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then bake your most magnificent pie and bring it over to Governor's Island to the pie contest table by 3pm. Winners will be announced by 4pm and awards will be distributed.
For more info on the Jazz Age Lawn Party and schedule of events, click here. There will be a $5 charge to enter the party! Let me know if you enter!