Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Curried Brassica (what's in my fridge)

hi folks!
I had a crazy day at work today, and what kept me going was thinking about what I would make for dinner. For a while I've been wanting to thank all of you for reading here- writing this blog, thinking about food, cooking, and especially posting here, has made me more experimental, more willing to try throwing things together. By reading what my awesome co-blogger Kitty is working on, and cooking for you guys, I am getting better at combining ingredients to make flavors, and I really hope all of you have been finding the posts helpful in your kitchens. or at least finding them to be entertaining.

So I had a long day, and was looking forward to coming home to watch some JV-squad pre-playoffs basketball (Celtics beat the Heat again!) and sitting on my couch. I have been traveling a fair amount, and I had some things in my fridge that I wanted to use up, but was also (conveniently) craving. Namely, cauliflower. I came home with an idea about some crispy spicy cauliflower. I was picturing it kind of pan fried and browned. I was excited about this mental picture. I did not end up executing this mental picture. Instead, I ended up with a curry-sauced cauliflower and broccoli over orzo. What? How? Want to retrace my steps with me? I know you do.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Soft Shell Crabs!

Dear Readers,

There is a certain seasonal food treasure appearing in the market these days (No. I don't mean Ramps) that I cannot resist. My mother has been, is,and always will be my cooking guru. She loves softshell crabs. No I mean she LOVES softshell crabs. As a kid, she introduced me to their delicious briney taste, their amazing crunchy-poppy texture, and the fun of eating an entire crab- shell and all. whenever I see them? I think of my mom, and I have to them.

I left work at a reasonable hour this fine spring afternoon, and while running errands in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I passed by a little fish monger that looked like it had a nice selection. I went in, and not only was all of their fish beautiful and all fresh, they even had... wait for it... Soft Shell Crabs!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Catholic Girl's Marinara

Gentle reader, I have a most terrible confession to make. Once upon a time, in a dark hour, a moment of weakness I shall regret forever, I actually entertained the idea of...using red sauce from a jar. (I know! I know! I need to go to Our Lady of Perpetual Pasta and say ten Hail Mama Celestes in penance.) Thankfully, my soul was saved by a good Catholic girl who would not allow me to abandon my faith in the healing power of cooking from scratch. Hence this recipe is named in her honor.

Here’s how this narrowly averted sin went down. One lovely summer weekend, I was invited to my friend Karen’s house in Woodstock for a girls’ weekend. The deal was that each of us would contribute a meal, and I said I’d make pizza on the grill. But I didn't have time to grocery-shop before leaving, and to my eternal shame, I—after much agonizing, soul-searching, and conscience-wrestling—suggested getting a jar of spaghetti sauce to save time.

Karen, a good Catholic girl, responded by visibly shuddering, making the sign of the cross, and saying she would get the ingredients for me to make the sauce from scratch. Hallelujah! She kept me from wandering into the valley of prepackaged, overpriced, preservative-laden darkness.

Making the sauce is, and was, easy—even after the many glasses of wine our group of girlfriends had consumed by the time I started cooking (gentle reader, our conversation that evening would have made Madonna blush—and I don't mean the virginal one). This sauce is of course perfect for pasta or any other dish that calls for red sauce, and it freezes great to reheat for a spaghetti dinner in 10 minutes (more on this after the jump).