Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Compound Butter Is Fancy and Easy

Compound butter—a.k.a. butter with stuff mixed into it—is stupid easy to make but impresses people greatly. And you can up the impressive quotient by molding it in a cookie cutter, as I am doing for my upcoming holiday party (see photo). This breakout butter star will be accompanied by homemade French bread. (My go-to recipe is from a fantastic 1960s-era cookbook called “The Cook Book [sic] of Breads.”)

The only things you really need to take into account when making fancy-shaped compound butter are time + temperature. Leave the butter out of the fridge long enough so it softens and hence is malleable enough to mash into the herbs/flavors of your choice (for the star pictured, I mixed in sea salt and herbs de Provence, which is a versatile blend of things like thyme and lavender and a bunch of other herbs that are ... um, from Provence ... I don’t know, Google it for God’s sake!), and then be patted and smoothed into a mold and left to set in the fridge.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Achieving Organizationgasm in the Kitchen

Gentle readers,

Yesterday a pre-Christmas miracle occurred. I reorganized each and every one of my kitchen cabinets so that now supplies and equipment are properly grouped together (spices, baking, plates, gadgets, etc.); the most frequently used of said supplies and equipment are within easy reach; and the risk of things crashing down and hitting me in the head/slicing my face off is significantly reduced. It was difficult to part with much of my hoard of  reused plastic take-out/sour-cream containers, but the fact that the mandoline I had been stashing near them came within inches of decapitating me was the inspiration for this entire project, so I stayed strong. (Incidentally, this incident also triggered a past-life flashback of being beheaded by guillotine, leading me to believe that I may have been Marie Antoinette in a previous life, which sounds about right given my penchants for frilly dresses, cake, and not giving a crap about other people.)

Anyhoo, here's just one of the satisfyingly transformative results, for the cabinet over the sink (note the purple box of Disney Princess Band-Aids at center shelf, far right, ready at hand for any future guillotinish incidents:

Achieving organizationgasm was a life-changing experience--as evidenced by the fact that after a long absence, I have resumed posting to this blog. Stay tuned for future updates with more delicious recipes, and tell your friends: BGC is back in action! Like I said, a pre-Christmas miracle.

Happy Holidays, and God bless you one and all!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chicken Fried Rice (consider gauntlet thrown, oh ye potatoe devotee?)

Hello Readers!

I had quite a productive Saturday today. Part of that productivity was taking my bucket and bags of compost over to Added Value (long overdue). This task always reveals the contents of my fridge. It was pretty sparse, but there was the unopened takeout box of rice from Monday. I had kept it on purpose to make something (mostly I've been aspiring to rice balls. yes. rice balls.) but I was kind of pooped, so was on the fence about heating up a lot of oil. I had carrots, celery, and asparagus in the fridge, onion and garlic in the cabinet, and figured fried rice was in order.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

mmmm. pasta

Hi everyone!

Is it spring yet? Are you tired of everyone complaining that it's not spring yet? Yeah me too.

I say- Take advantage of the cold to partake in the second best cold weather activity- Eating Comfort Food! (first is skiing)

The other day I made a whole mess of pasta. I grabbed everything in my fridge and cupboards that needed cooking or throwing- Carrots, Celery, Onions, Basil, Tomatoes, who knows what else was
there. I cut everything up, and threw it into a saucepan with some olive oil. I added crushed red pepper, some old red wine, and cooked until the vegetables were soft, before pouring in some pasta sauce from the fridge. I boiled a pound of spaghetti, and when that was almost done, added some of the pasta water to my doctored sauce.

As any Italian knows, the best part of bowl of spaghetti and red sauce is 2-3 days later once it has been sitting and marrying for a while. Stop hating on the carbs, grate some parmesan, and enjoy!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Strawberries. What?

Well hello dear readers!
Wait do we have readers any more?

I'm sure you're out there, so hi, happy 2014 and how's everything?
Things are good with me, hectic, but good. But get this, I was at the Red Hook Fairway last night for some quick kitchen restocking, and right as I walked in, my eye was caught by the sign that said 3 lbs of strawberries for 5 dollars.
Wait, is it strawberry season? My mom who's down in Florida says it is there, so I figured what they heyo. They were definitely overripe, which also struck me as a little strange, but I went for it anyway, and bought a whole bunch of strawberries.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lettuce Chicken. Yeah, that’s right. Lettuce Chicken.

With food, as with fashion, some things are timeless...and some are fads that instantly evoke the era that spawned them. Like, while steak frites is the culinary equivalent of a little black dress and pearls, pesto with sun-dried tomatoes is the equivalent of a pink Izod shirt with a turned-up collar.

Recently, I found myself with a strange nostalgic compulsion to make a circa-late-1970s dish that could be considered the equivalent of a Mrs. Roper print muumuu. And let me tell you, gentle reader, it was damn good.

My aunt—ironically, I'm her namesake—was not much of a cook. She was one of those people that had one “company-friendly” recipe down pat and would make it at every occasion she hosted through the years. In this case, her signature dish was Lettuce Chicken, composed of sautéed chicken, bacon, and—how weird is this?!—iceberg lettuce, with some lemon juice bringing it all together. And it was actually AWESOME—a perfect balance of rich and clean/tart flavors. For some reason, a craving for this popped into my head recently…but when I googled “lettuce chicken” I got a bunch of crap about “wraps” and “cups” calling for lettuce leaves in lieu of the tortillas God intended.

So I texted my mom to ask if she recalled the gist of the original recipe for Lettuce Chicken, and, happily, she did. (Apparently it originated in Gourmet back in the day. If anyone can track down this O.G. recipe I’d be most grateful, and would sleep better at night linking to it as the source of this post. I did do due Google diligence in an effort to cite my source properly…but it’s not my fault that ’Merickan women are obese but aspire not to be, and hence searching for lettuce chicken yields 87 pages of variations on the same freaking “wraps” and “cups”!)

Anyhoo. I originally thought of substituting escarole for the iceberg lettuce as a modern update of the dish, since I just didn’t trust my memory that iceberg could go in a cooked dish. But the Met Foods, much to my lack of shock, did not have escarole in stock, and when I texted my mom to confirm that it was indeed iceberg in the original recipe, she responded, “Yep. That’s all we had back then. AND WE LIKED IT!” Clearly, I had to keep it real and go with the iceberg. (I mean, I didn’t have an option. You caught the part about how the market had no escarole, right?) So, to make a long story short (too late), here’s how I made the awesome lost-in-history dish that is Lettuce Chicken.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's fall, let's roast!

Dearest Readers,
Today starts the most beautiful of seasons. Yes, I know it's still summer, and the glorious "Autumn in New York" season hasn't really started yet as we're all crossing our fingers for more indian summer. What I'm talking about, my cooking gurus, is football season.
Just like you, friends, as the end of August rolls up, I get sad, melancholy that the number of immediate beach days is dwindling... Ok, I'm being melodramatic, all I'm trying to say is that generally, my end-of-summer angst is easily cast aside when the first official Sunday of Football Season comes around! And that's today! I am excited!