Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Howlaween!!!

these are not my dogs. I got this photo in an email.  but i like dogs in cooking related costumes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Pizza Party


This month's Daring Baker's challenge is not only about what you make, it's how you make it.  Pizza was the theme, but the real challenge here was that all of us were required to throw the dough in the air, just like a real pizza guy.  And, we had to take a picture.  


I cheated a little on this challenge.  I've made pizza before, and have a dough recipe I really like. For me the real challenge was stretching the dough by throwing it.  My friend J, who is a bread master, made the pizza dough, and invited us over for a pizza making party.

To top the pies, we had sausage with mushrooms and caramelized red onions and smoked mozzerella with sundried tomatoes and marinated artichokes. Both were good, but the sausage pizza was hands down my favorite. 


I'm not going to include recipes this month, since I didn't use the same one the other DBs did.  Check out the blogroll for other attempts at pizza spinning

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD: Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes


This week's TWD assignment has taken on a festive feel with cupcake decorated for Halloween. These are deep, dark, and hauntingly chocolate-y, with a spooky decoration. 

Is Halloween even celebrated anywhere else like it is in the U.S.? Because to the international visitors, it may looks strange that I decorate my cupcakes with eyeballs.  On a side note, aren't these marshmallow eyeballs AWESOME??  Dollar Store, people, Dollar Store. 



The recipe is featured on the website of our host blogger, clara of Iheartfoodforthought.  Check out the other TWD bloggers here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sweet and Spicy Pecan Brittle



Around here, this week will be all about candy.  I have 3 big bags waiting for children in costume that I am promising I won't open till Friday.  To tide over your sweet tooth, I made some candy of my own, for a more adult palate.  This pecan brittle is sweet from the sugar, but the nuts are spiced with the smoky tones of chili powder for depth and cayenne for heat, as well as some cinnamon and allspice for balance.  Turned out mighty tasty. 


"Spice up your life" is the theme for this month's Sugar High Friday, hosted by Dessert First and this brittle is my submission.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tarte Tatin



While endlessly making applesauce last weekend, we of course wanted something tasty to eat.  Of course we needed it to feature apples, the feaured fall fruit of the evening.  P and I whipped up this simple tarte tatin, which was delicious.  This was an easy dish, the most labor intensive part being whipping up a simple crust, which needs 30 minutes to chill, but after that you can practically press it over the apples and stick it in the oven.  It was super tasty.


out of the oven, waiting to be flipped

We found the recipe over at Chocolate and Zucchini.  Please visit Clotilde's site for the goods.

And the Winner Is . . .

Shanbanan!!

Shanbanan is the winner of my 100 post celebration giveway!  She shared that her favorite cookie is Dorie's  World Peace Cookies, which I have been dying to try.

Shanbanan wins a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies!  Email me at illeatyoublog@gmail.com with your address.  If I do not hear from you by 10/31, I will pick another winner.

BTW, winner was selected by Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
14
Timestamp: 2008-10-25 12:50:14 UTC

Saturday, October 25, 2008

applesauce-a-palooza

My friend J used to live in Montana and practically lived out little house on the prairie out there. He shot his own meat, grew his own food, and canned it all.  He still hunts and preserves a bit although he is (mostly) adapted to city life.  He showed us how to process apples for applesauce one early fall weekend.  


We got a bushel of apples from an orchard.  They were seconds, but that's okay for applesauce.  We washed and cored them, and cooked them down until they were, well, mushy. 


We mixed the apples frequently to make sure they didn't burn.  You can add sugar, but our apples were sweet, since this season was dry, and the sugars in them were concentrated.  


Then we put the apples through a food mill to remove the peel and any seeds or other apple detritus that was around. 


 After that, we placed the applesauce in sterilized quart jars and processed in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

 
I'm looking forward to using this applesauce for eating and baking for the rest of the year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Curried Squash Cupcakes

When I think about baking with squash, I automatically think about all the warm comforting flavors of the fall: cinnamon, apple, nutmeg, ginger.  When first contemplating this month's cupcake hero challenge, squash, these were the thoughts that automatically came to me.  

A quick perusal through the Flavor Bible, and a squash summit with J, helped me expand my horizons about squash-y sweets.  The results are here in these curried cupcakes. 


We started with a combinations of squashes: Butternut, Pumpkin, and Delicata (my favorite because it sounds like my last name).  We roasted them in a hot hot oven, scooped out the flesh and pureed it in a food processor.

Curried Squash Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp madras curry powder 
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 1/4 c. squash puree 
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Insert cupcake liners into your muffin or cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs to the creamed mixture only one at a time. Mix well after each egg. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, the ground cinnamon, curry and  salt. Once blended, begin adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time. Alternate with the milk, stirring after each addition. Mix until completely integrated.

Add the squash puree and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Curry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick of unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar (adjust if you like sweeter)
1.5 Tbs curry powder (adjust if you like spicier)

beat butter and cream cheese together, add sugar and curry.  blend until smooth.  Frost cupcakes

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We've Graduated . . . .

 . . . .  to our own domain!!!



 I am now my very own domain of IllEatYou.com, thanks to my thoughtful husband.
 Keep coming back for more tasty updates!!

Back to Cambodia

I've taken the reins over at My Kitchen, My World from the great Susan of She's Becoming Doughmesstic. With Operation Baking Gals growing so exponentially, she needed a little help with her other babies, so I went from happy participant to humble leader. My first order of business was to set out itinerary for this week- so on to Cambodia it is!


As I told the group, I am a HUGE fan of Cambodian food. My husband and I spent time there on our honeymoon, and we were surprisingly blown away by the tastiness of the food. It is heavily influenced by both Eastern and Southern Asian culinary traditions, as well as by the French, who spent time as an occupying power in the region in the 20th century.

P and I made Coconut-Rice Crepes Filled with Pork for dinner tonight, a recipe from Food and Wine which was sent our way by a Cambodian co-worker of my father in law. We also use The Elephant Walk Cookbook, from a Cambodian restaurant in Boston, for other recipes.

The crepes were pretty simple and easy for P to make, as he is magical with crepe batter.  They are thicker then traditional crepes, and have a mild sweetness from the coconut.  The pork filling couldn't be easier.  What really brings the dish together is the sauce that has the pungency of fish sauce balanced with sugar for sweetness - it was great. Place pork on a crepe, add some sauce, some crunchy lettuce, some cilantro, and get ready to eat!


Coconut-Rice Crepes Filled With Pork
by Ratha Chau
from Food and Wine, March 2008

INGREDIENTS
1 cup rice flour (see Note)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 scallions, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
1 red onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 pound ground pork
1 head of red leaf lettuce; chopped roasted peanuts; mung bean sprouts; and mint, cilantro and basil leaves, for serving

DIRECTIONS
In a medium bowl, whisk the rice flour with the coconut milk, egg, turmeric, half of the scallions and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Whisk in enough tepid water (about 1 cup) for the batter to resemble thin pancake batter.
In a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, Thai chiles and 2 tablespoons of water. Add one-third of the chopped red onion, and half each of the garlic and ginger. Stir in the carrots.
In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the remaining onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions. Transfer the pork to a bowl and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 250°. Brush a small nonstick skillet or crêpe pan very lightly with oil and heat until very hot. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of the crêpe batter and swirl the pan to coat evenly with the batter. Cook over moderately high heat until the edge is just turning brown and the crêpe is nearly set, about 1 minute. Drizzle a few drops of oil around the edge and flip the crêpe to cook the other side, about 20 seconds. Turn the crêpe out onto a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven; repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more crêpes.
Transfer the crêpes to a platter along with the lettuce leaves, sprouts and herbs. Serve alongside the pork, with the chopped peanuts and carrot-chile sauce in separate bowls. Wrap the crêpes and fillings in the lettuce leaves to eat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Acorn Squash Gnudi with Zesty Brown Butter Sage Sauce

If you haven't noticed, I've been cooking a lot with squash.  What can I say, it's fall.  Many of the events in the blogosphere this month are taking advantage of the shift in seasons to feature this rich, comforting vegetable. 

I'm trying my hand at the Royal Foodie Joust hosted by The Leftover Queen this month, whose theme ingredients were acorn squash, citrus and sage.  P had the idea of making squash gnudi, and the rest of the dish practically wrote itself.  Pastas that make use of pumpkin or butternut squash, like ravioli, gnocchi, or agnolotti, often make use of a brown butter and sage sauce.  We added some orange zest to that sauce, which added a nice fragrant note.


Gnudi is a dumpling-like pasta.  Gnocchi is a good reference point, but it is also nothing like gnocchi at all.  Gnudi has no potato, and includes ricotta cheese. Good gnudi, 
like good gnocchi, is light and airy but also toothsome and substantial.  Making dishes like gnocchi and gnudi takes practice to make them both tasty and attractive.  As you can see, this wasn't the most attractive dish, but it sure looked good to our tastebuds. 


Acorn Squash Gnudi with Zesty Brown Butter Sage Sauce
 adapted from Michael Symon

Ingredients
1 medium acorn squash
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh, drained for 30 minutes in a fine sieve
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
Semolina, for dusting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage, plus about 8 leaves

Directions
Peel squash, remove innards and cut into inch cubes. Toss with a little oil and salt and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender.  To keep the recipe from being too moist, you may want to roast the squash till it really gets a bit caramelized.. Transfer to a food processor, and puree until smooth. Stir together squash puree, eggs, cheeses and nutmeg.

Mound 1-cup flour on a cutting board. Using floured hands, gently shape 1 tablespoon squash mixture into a small log. Drop it into the flour, and quickly roll to coat lightly. Transfer to a baking sheet that's lightly dusted with semolina.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half the gnudi, and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together. Cook until gnudi rise and remain on the surface, about 5 minutes. Remove to a platter. Repeat with remaining gnudi. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in zest and chopped sage and the sage leaves. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons gnudi cooking water, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with the gnudi.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins


Well actually, these are squash muffins.  They contain pumpkin, but also butternut and delicata squash.  They are, as P puts it, "quite successful as a muffin."  I might try a split of oil and butter to help them stay moist next time.  I stuck with the nuts and raisins combo, but I bet they would be killer with chocolate in them, as I know many TWD bloggers tried.

Thanks to Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp for this week's pick.  Check out her blog for the recipe.  Check out the TWD blogroll here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bacon Apple Squash Bread


On our day off last week, J and I sat around and baked with squash.  We consulted The Flavor Bible, which I recently won in a giveaway from Joy of Desserts.

This book is awesome and when you use it, you feel like inspired geniuses, or at least J and I did. You look up an ingredient, and it will give you a list of other ingredients whose flavor complements your theme ingredient.  A lot of them are traditional, obvious combinations, but there are also many you might not readily think of, which helps when you want to make something outside your typical flavor profile. Tons of great new stuff came out of the kitchen that day, including this great quickbread studded with dried apples and bits of crispy bacon.  

I'm submitting this to October's In The Bag Challenge, hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie

Bacon Apple Squash Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 teaspoons maple syrup
8 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pureed squash (pumpkin puree works well)
1/2 cup dried apples, chopped
1/3 lb bacon

Directions
Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Position rack in the lower third of the oven.

Preheat oven to 350

Grease 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.

Dice bacon, fry on stovetop until fat has rendered out and meat is crispy.  Set aside.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking powder together throughly.

Combine maple syrup, milk and vanilla in another bowl.

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.

Gradually add sugars and beat on high speed 3-4 minutes.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Add and beat in squash puree on low speed until blended.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk/syrup/vanilla mixture, until smooth

Fold in dried apples and bacon.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about one hour.



 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

100th Post Giveaway Celebration!!

This is my 100th post on I'll Eat You!  Hooray!  To celebrate this milestone of my food blogosphere existence, I'm holding a giveaway.  What, you ask, might you win?  Well, a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies!!




It's a funderful cookbook full of great cookie ideas, right in time to get your Chistmas Cookie list together.  

This is a great time for those of you who have been secretly lurking to come out of the woodwork and let me know you are here!!  I would love to hear from you and maybe even send you this cookbook!

Simply leave a comment about your favorite cookie by Friday, 10/24 at midnight EST and I will post the winner on Sunday 10/26

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Foodbuzz Philly Blogger Dinner

I'm a Featured Publisher in the Foodbuzz online community.  This week Ryan, the Director of the Featured Publishers Program came out to Philly and hosted a dinner for the Philadelphia Featured Publishers at Fork. 

We had a great meal:  We were set up in the cafe where they have the chef's table.  Very cool and very private.  Joe, our wine dude, selected a great Chenon Blanc and a Spanish red that were great.  I had a nice beet salad, a fantastic, tender hangar steak with yucca fries and a spicy aioli, and a warm hazelnut financier. 

It was great to meet these fun people in in Philadelphia Food Blogging Community.  I look forward to meeting up with them again! Check out their blogs:

Joe of 1WineDude
Lauren of Dream Kitchen
Jonathan of Food Enthusiast

And our host, Ryan for Foodbuzz and The Pink Spoon

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't Cry for Me Chimichurri.

This week's My Kitchen My World takes us to South America and Argentina. 

Pre-Challenge Summation of Lauren's Argentina Knowledge
Evita is from there(she's cool, +5)
they have gauchos (spawned a questionable fashion statement, -1)
love beef (no need to comment +5)
they have crippling inflation (may potentially happen here soon -3 )
that's where a bunch of nazi's went to escape prosecution (boo to nazis - 6)
In Short, Argentina was pretty neutral in my book before I began researching for this challenge.

Lauren's Post-Challenge Argentina Knowledge
CHIMICHURRI!!!! IS!!!! DELICIOUS!!!!! +100!!!!

Argentina comes out on top!!!!!


Argentinians love their beef, and they love it grilled. I had no problem celebrating that with my dinner this week.  I created a simple and tradional sauce (aforementioned amazing Chimichurri) from garlic, parsley and vinegar that is used widely in Argentina as a marinade and grill sauce.  It is so tasty and delicious, it's popularity has swept through South America and it is widely used throughout the continent. 
Add a basic potato dish (we went of mashed) and a simple salad (tomato and onion or lettuce and tomato is traditional ) and we were set for a simple, mad tasty dinner. 


Chimichurri
from Food and Wine

ingredients
. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
. 4 large garlic cloves, minced (2 1/2 tablespoons)
. 2 tablespoons oregano leaves
. 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

directions
In a food processor, combine the parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. Process until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and pour the olive oil over the mixture. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.

notes:
• The chimichurri can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Almond Yogurt Loaf with Lemon Crunch Glaze

We bought the most sour yogurt in the world. It is plain yogurt, but no amount of sweetening could temper the sourness of this stuff. Of course we had a big container of it, and it was unpalatable.  What to do?  Bake up some cake of course?  I improvised this quick bread, hoping that the tang of the yogurt would mirror the tang of lemon, and I'd have a nice moist almond loaf.  It turned out perfectly.  I glazed it while hot with a confectioners sugar glaze.  If you brush this on while hot and let it dry and the cake cool COMPLETELY before covering, this will stay nice and crunchy.  Cover it while it is still in the least bit warm and it will get sticky and melty.  It'll still taste good though.  I used mini loaf pans, so I still have one of these suckers in my freezer- excellent!!



 
Almond Yogurt Loaf with Lemon Crunch Glaze


Ingredients

  1. dry ingredients
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup almond meal
  4. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. wet ingredients
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1 cup plain yogurt
  10. 2/3 cup sugar
  11. 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  12. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  13. Glaze ingredients
  14. 1 cup powdered sugar
  15. 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  16. 1-2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. grease and flour baking tins
  3. whisk together dry ingredients
  4. whisk togethr wet ingredients
  5. add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, combining until just blended
  6. pour batter into baking tins
  7. bake for 20 mintues until a tester comes out clean
  8. whisk glaze ingredients together
  9. while bread is still hot, brush glaze on bread and allow to dry uncovered
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

California Love

P and I just returned from a wonderful trip back to my hometown, San Francisco.  This was a trip full of culinary delights which I can't wait to fill you in on.  Since this is a Philadelphia based blog and and because since I gobbled up nearly everything before I had a chance to photograph it, I will smush everything into one supersize write-up.

Burma Superstar
This restaurant is practially around the corner from where I grew up and has developmed into something of a cult favorite. What more do you really need to know except the owners include "superstar" in the name of their restaurant? We went for lunch on our first day and loved it.  The best thing we tried, hands down, was the tea leaf salad, that mixes lettuce, tea leaves, peanuts, fried garlic, lentils, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds with a lemony dressing.  It was unusual and refreshing and just amazing.  Their chicken curry over coconut rice and superstar shrimp were also favorites.  Call ahead and get your name on the list to avoid a long wait.


Burma Superstar on Urbanspoon

A16
This Marina restaurant is one of my dad's favorites. He and my stepmother go here weekly and are "regulars."  The fare is simply prepared tratorria style italian with wood oven pizzas, braised meats, simple pastas and salads.  The food is solid but the portions are on the small side.  The pizza is excellent.  They have an extensiv wine list and knowledgeable wine staff. On the night we were there a female winemaker from Sicily was visiting.  We met her and sampled four of her wines, which were excellent but a bit pricey (45 for a half bottle of one).


A16 on Urbanspoon

Tartine
this bakery is everything they say it is and more.  It features fantastic cinnamon buns, lighter then air gougeres, and lines out the door and around the corner on a weekday morning.  The cakes look amazing and also cost $50.  I got the cookbook and can't wait to give things a try!


Tartine Bakery on Urbanspoon

Bouchon Bakery
Excellent bakery in Yountville, CA, and companion bakery to Thomas Keller's bistro of the same name.  Their prepartations are classically french and result in perfect, flaky pain de raisin and croissants and lighter then air brioche. 

In-N-Out Burger
A West Coast standby, In-N-Out never fails to dissapoint.  I had to bring my in laws for their first taste of the best fast food hamburger around.  I like mine "animal style"- with grilled onions. This is the only fast food place where I actually want to eat the lettuce and tomato provided on the burger.  Fries are hand cut daily, but they do need a little help. 

Ristorante Ideale
This North Beach restaurant is run by Romans and makes in.cred.ib.le fresh pasta and amazing sauces and well as great napolitan style pizza. My papardelle with lamb ragu was springy and toothsome like great handamde pasta and their gnocci is lighter then air. The grilled calamari appetizer was perfectly tender and had a great just off the grill char.  This place was understandably packed on a Saturday night- make reservations!

Ristorante Ideale on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: Raw

Tucked away on Sansom street is the long, narrow restaurant that is the sushi bar Raw.  The food, is classic japanese with ambitious, modern twists. P has been here several times of their lunch bento boxes, which are reportedly a great bargain. (salad, tempura, negamaki, sushi, together starting at 13 bucks).  He suggested we try it for his sister's birthday dinner, so off we went.
We were seated promptly near the sushi bar. Our server was nice and eager to please. Once informed about my sister in law's nut allergy, he was extra cautious and warned her about even non-nut items in the food, like olive oil, sesame seeds, and soybeans.   


Tuna Hako

The special rolls of the evening were described, which were massive and very complicated.  I stopped paying attention to the first one after I heard "spicy" since all spicy sauces include mayonnaise, which tops my icky foods list.  The second sounded good at first: king crab, eel, tuna, avocado, then on top there was more crab, cream cheese, cream sauce (I think).  Too much.  I also don't think cream cheese belongs in sushi.  Sorry if you do. 

Sushi Combo

The  ginger dressing on my green salad was creamy and tangy, and the portion was generous. The seaweed salad had just enough heat to provide a kick without being overpowering. The pan fried gyoza were tasty, although nothing spectacular.  P and I shared sushi, which good.  The fish was of excellent quality, the rolls well made.  At some point, I feel the rolls were perhaps a little over the top, or just sounded better on paper then they actually tasted.  Nothing was bad.  But nothing blew me away either.  Salmon and Avocado was the best roll of the night. Smooth, complementary textures, nice flavors.  The Sweet Potato Tempura roll was inventive and tasty, although P found it a little greasy.  The California King roll, which subbed king crab for traditional crab stick, was a bit flavorless and left me disappointed.  I thought it would be better then a regular california roll.  The Tuna Hako, which is pressed in a bamboo box, was disappointing.  The center ingredients got lost, although the tuna on top was good.  However at nearly $20 for 8 pieces, it definitely wasn't worth it. 

Raw is a solid sushi restaurant.   If they scaled back a bit and focused on amazing, simple food, I think they could be much better. They have a lot of things going for them, including a good design aesthetic, awareness of quality ingredients ( i.e. they use fresh-grated wasabi) and are not afraid to take culinary risks. They have an attentive staff and a beautiful restaurant. Their recently opened courtyard is charming (in a zen sort of way).  Hit it for lunch while the weather is still nice and take advantage of the bargain. 


1225 Raw Sushi & Sake Lounge on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 12, 2008

La Fete du Fromage- Burrata

Loulou, over at Chez Loulou, is hosting a new event, La Fete du Fromage, celebrating your favorite food and mine, cheese!  This is a prime opportunity to discuss a subject that is recently near and dear to my heart: Burrata.  I have eaten and enjoyed this cheese on four separate occasions in the last two weeks.  On one of those occasions, I single handedly ate one for dinner.  It was fantastic.  And I have to stop.  So we will celebrate Burrata in this little corner of the blogosphere for a few minutes and then he and I will end our little affair. 

oooh burrata . . . 

Burrata is a fresh italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream.  Fresh mozzarella is stretched over a mixture of mozzarella curd and cream, so that when it is cut open, a luxurious, creamy, oozy center is revealed.  It tastes fresh and clean like mozzarella, but soo much , well, sexier. 
 
oozing creamy goodness

Traditionally, the cheese is wrapped in the leaves of the asphodel plant.  It should be eaten within 24 hours.  The leaves wrapping the cheese should still be green when you serve it.  If not, throw it away.  

I love to eat it on crusty bread or crostini, garnished simply with a little good olive oil and maybe a bit of salt and pepper.  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall meets Cheesecake



I make a mean cheesecake. I've spent a while experimenting and I think I've perfected it. It's dense, rich, and pure sin.  For christ's sake, it has two pounds of cream cheese in it.  This in not an everyday dessert.  But for my friends and co-workers, they get whatever they want on their birthday.  Veronica wanted cheesecake.  So cheescake she gets, and I made it with a fall-ish twist I've been wanting to try.  I used the caramel from the chocolate pecan cake I made earlier in the week, it's not as good as the caramel recipie below.  I also love love love to use spiced wafers or ginger snaps instead of graham crakers as my crust.  The crust is more substantial and adds more fall flavor (great with pumpkin cheesecake too- stay tuned!)

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
adapted from Chowhound

Ingredients

  1. For the crust
  2. 1 1/4 cups spiced wafer or ginger snap crumbs
  3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
  4. 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  5. For the cheesecake:
  6. 2 pounds (4 [8-ounce] packages) cream cheese
  7. 1 cup granulated sugar
  8. 1 large egg yolk
  9. 3 whole large eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. For the caramel:
  12. 1 cup granulated sugar
  13. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  14. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  15. 2-3 granny smith apples, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. For the crust:
  2. Heat the oven to 325ºF and arrange the rack in the middle. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Mix together the cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of prepared springform pan; set aside.
  3. For the cheesecake:
  4. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix over medium speed until light, airy, and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until blended.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and the center of the cheesecake is just set, about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, leave door slightly ajar, and let cheesecake cool completely.
  6. For the caramel:
  7. Stir together sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Let boil until amber in color, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat, add cream, and mix well. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  8. Assembly:
  9. Pour the caramel over the cooled cheesecake, then arrange apple slices over the top
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Review: Abyssinia Ethiopian

Abyssinia Ethiopian is a back room restaurant behind a bar that serves fantastic ethiopian food.  It sits inconpicously on a corner on 45th and Locust in University City. Those in the know will enter the unmarked side door on Locust that takes you right into the restaurant itself.  Maps and carvings from Ethiopia line the walls and they have several tables in the back that appear to be authentically appointed with woven basket tops, although I'm not exactly an expert on what is "authentic ethiopian".

All dishes are served on injera, a flat, spongy bread made from fermented teff. More injera is used as a vehicle to move food to mouth, and no utensils are used.  It's served family style, on round plates so everyone can share. On our last outing, a huge plate was brought so that all 6 in attendance could eat from the same vessel.

ethiopian food on injera, courtesy wikipedia

Service is usually slow, as is the wait for the food, but it's worth it for this out of the ordinary treat.  We like to share the meat combination platter, but I'm also particularly fond of the vegetarian dished they make with lentils and collards.  Vegetarian dishes, it seems, is where they really shine, especially if you like spice, since berebere is in almost all of their dishes.  All the food is tender and moist, as if it has been slow-coked for hours (it probably has).

If Ethiopian food is new to you, give Abyssinia a try.  If you are an old fan but haven't tried this restaurant, add it to your list.



Abyssinia Ethiopian on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trip to Morocco!

This week's My Kitchen My World takes us to Morocco, right at the top of my travel wish-list! A little research on Moroccan cuisine tells us that Moroccan cuisine is some of the most diverse in the world, influenced by Arab, African, Jewish and Iberian culinary traditions.  Rich spices are used throughout this cuisine, including cinnamon, cumin, saffron, and ginger.


I chose to make a traditional Moroccan dish, a lamb tagine called Mrouzia. The word tagine refers to the recipe as well as the vessel it is traditionally cooked in, which is a shallow dish with a cone shaped top, great for slow cooking.  I don't have a tagine (the vessel) as I am holding out to buy mine in the markets of Marrakesh or Fez.  I used my crock pot instead, which allowed me to make this meal in the middle of the week.  I served it with couscous, a traditional grain, and roasted carrots.

Mrouzia
from Gourmet

Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 3 hr

Servings: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

ingredients

2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout*
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
3 cups water
3 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, coarsely grated (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups raisins
1 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Accompaniment: couscous

preparation

Whisk together ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, ginger, saffron, and 1 cup water in a 5-quart heavy pot. Stir in lamb, remaining 2 cups water, onion, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and butter and simmer, covered, until lamb is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in raisins, almonds, honey, and ground cinnamon and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender, about 30 minutes more.

Uncover pot and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until stew is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes more.


Review: The Prime Rib

Here in Philadelphia, Center City district organizes an event 4 times a year or so called Restaurant Week.  Scores of restaurants participate and offer 3 course meals for $35.  The aim is to get people out who wouldn't normally go out to eat, and to get people into some of the pricier places at an affordable price.  The spirit of the week is great, but in reality, its very crowded, it's hard to get into the really good restaurants, and the food isn't always handled with the care and professionalism that it might be during a normal week of service.  At least this has been my experience at more then one place.  I have a friend from grad school who live outside the city and is always very on top of restaurant week- she always gets us a reservation and its a great excuse to get together with a group of friends, so we go. 

Her pick was The Prime Rib, a steakhouse in the Radisson Warwick hotel.  The restaurant is much bigger then I anticipated.  The ambiance is strange and a bit outdated- huge, towering fake-floral arrangements, leopard print wall to wall carpet, mirrored walls, live piano player, floral printed booths, tuxedoed waiters. 

We were seated promptly, which was a surprise, considering other waits we've had for restaurant week tables, but sat a long time waiting for menus.  We ordered wine and food.  When the wine came, the ladies were served but the bottles were left on the table for the men to pour for themselves.  I've never seen this before.  Menu choices were simple: house, caesar or tomato salad or soup, prime rib or flat iron steak (also available, chicken and salmon), and creme brulee, key lime pie, or chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
We all opted for beef: the flat iron steak was well prepared, and the prime rib was decent, although you could tell these were special "restaurant week" portions, the ones being served off the a la carte menu were bigger and looked tastier. The salads were simple but uninspired, and there seemed to a be strict crouton-portion control of 2 per person.
There is nothing I can specifically fault, but the overall feeling in food and ambiance was being at a catered wedding. Service was rushed but adequate as was the food, nothing to write home about. However when I go to wedding I expect an open bar and the meal to be free. Sadly, this meal at the Prime Rib cost about as much as your average wedding present, and there were no ugly bridesmaids dresses to make fun of.

Prime Rib on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWD: Caramel-Pecan Topped Brownie Cake


Despite just returning from our trip, I decided to  go into baking mode tonight to knock out this week's recipe.  I'm still so exited to be IN WITH CAKE, OUT WITH COOKIES, these days.  I opted for pecans rather then peanuts because a) I had them and 2) I like them better.  In hindsight, using peanuts would have made this cake rather like a snickers, which I do like, but oh well.   

My cake turned out a little dry because I put my small batch in a mini-loaf pan and then cooked it at the same time as a cheesecake.  To make a long story short I made it a bit too thick, and then I overcooked it. My nutty caramel turned out great though, and I bet it would be specTACular with a really fudgy cake.

Thanks to our host this week, Tammy.  Check out her blog for the recipe and the blogroll for othr delicious variations.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Operation Baking Gals Round Up!

Today the last day to ship for Operation Baking Gals- already the teammates of Team We'll Eat Everything have sent out a ton of delightful goodies to our sailor Eddie and his friends.

A great big thank you goes out to all the bakers out there- bloggers and non-bloggers alike who help to support this event and especially to those who made tasty concoctions on our team! Here is a sampling:

I made chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, and of course, did not take a picture.  I did, however, take a taste, and they were good!


Dawn and her friend Jenny made Rice Krispy Treats, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and also sent soem granola bars and easy mac!

Alicia from Alicia's Daily Dish sent outa package of cookies and goodies she and her family put together.

Janet from All I Want is Chocolate made Chocolate Malted Woper Drops

Melissa made chocolate chip cookies

Katia from Tiny Truffles made m and m cookies and cowboy cookies!

Natalie from Crafy Natalie made rice krispie treats and Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Abby made Chocolate chip with hershey's kisses in them!

Tami from Whisked Away made butterscotch oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip pecan cookies and chocolate chip toffee cookies!

other places only make me love you best . . .




Hello all,

I apologize for my absence- I've been out west in the homeland, San Francisco.  P, my inlaws and I had a great and delicious trip and visit with my parents.  Regular blogging to resume accordingly. Look out for the culinary highlights of the trip, incuding Tartine Bakery and Burma Superstar!!

Lauren

Review: Parc

Parc, Steven Starr's newest opening on Rittenhouse Square has been packed to the gills every time I walk by.  It's sidewalk seating by the park makes it a great warm weather destination, but inside it oozes enough Parisian charm to make you go back whatever the weather.

My dear friend M was in for a visit, and besides getting to meet her son E, the cutest baby ever and my new best friend, we got a lovely girls only dinner in at Parc. 

Service was friendly, prompt and attentive (and our waiter was really cute).  M and I just got 2 appetizers each and it was plenty for a full meal with leftovers.  My soup a l'ognion gratinee had a rich, flavorful broth and they certaintly don't skimp on the cheese, which was delightfully crispy around the edges.  M's tart had wonderful, light puff pastry base and was topped with caramelized onions and goat cheese.  The brandade had a soft, fluffy texture and was creamy and flavorful.  The breadcrumbs on the cauliflower gratin gave it needed crunch.  We shared the pomme frites which were good, although M and I agreed they could stand to be crispier.  

Dessert time: Fantastic, light tarte tatin and a deep dark baked chocolate mousse.  I had never had baked chocolate mousse before -it's very rich and very dark.  Unless you are true chocoholic, don't miss the tatin.  I bet they make a mean creme brulee as well.  

The drinks on the menu looked amazing, although we didn't try any, I would definitely go back just for cocktail hour. 

The price tag was a bit high, as one might expect from a Starr- my bill was $50 for two appetizers and a dessert, mind you we did not drink any alcohol.  It was worth it though for a nice splurge of a meal with an old,
Parc on Urbanspoon dear friend.