Monday, May 4, 2015

Homemade Vegetable Stock

You know when you learn something new, and you can't wait to start telling everyone? When every mildly tangential story seems like the perfect segue? That's how I feel about this trick. With the tiniest change, you can create delicious homemade stock by simply repurposing previously wasted food scraps. 

Step 1: Put a one gallon ziplock bag in your freezer.

Step 2: As you prep vegetables, throw any and all left over scraps into the freezer bag. Buttersquash peels, brussels sprout bottoms, turnip nubs, soft carrots, ends of onions, etc. 

Step 3: Once the bag is full, empty the contents into a medium stock pot.  Cover generously with water, add two bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and gently cook for 1 hour. Season with salt if using right away, or hold off if saving for future use. 

Step 4: Strain and voila! Homemade veggie stock.  Split into separate servings, freeze the whole bag or if you are feeling very ambitious, freeze in ice cube trays for single use later on. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shabu, Shabu: Japanese Fondue

"... and our dinner party muscles atrophied."

I read that spot-on description of life post baby the year Hudson was born, and it hilariously resonated.  Entertaining can be a sport. A sport I love, but a sport none the less. Given the 100% increase in tiny people at our house this year, our muscles need training, and in recent months I've found just the regime.

Enter Shabu Shabu, or Japanese fondue.  Our guests do the cooking, and everyone wins.

There are four steps to a Japanese fondue party. 1) Make a killer dipping sauce, 2) Flavor a broth, 3) Boil rice noodles and 4) Set out mildly styled veggies and protein on platters.

Below you will see photos of two recent Shabu, Shabu* parties at our house.  I am getting back in shape!

Shabu, Shabu

Ingredients for 4
  • Shabu dipping sauce (below)
  • Shabu broth (below) 
  • 8 oz of rice noodles, boiled per the package, rinsed in cold water and tossed with sesame oil
  • Protein, on separate plates to pass around. 10 total pieces of protein a person. A combo of:
    • 1/2 block of firm tofu cut up into squares
    • 12 cleaned shrimp
    • 8 Scallops
    • 12 oz Thinly sliced sirloin pieces
  • Vegetables
    • 1/3 cabbage, loosely chopped
    • 4 oz Mushrooms
    • 1 head of broccoli, floret-ted

Shabu Dipping Sauce

Modified courtesy of Best Fondue
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 glove chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chopped green onions
  • Water to loosen

Shabu Broth

Bring the following ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes before straining and transfering to a warm fondue pot at the table:
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 diced tomato
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 2 shallots OR a white onion peeled and quartered
  • A few tablespoons of grated ginger

Japanese Fondue

*Shabu, shabu is named after the noise that broth makes while bubbling.  Repeat the name softly and you may just hear it. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Coconut Milk French Toast

My New Year's Resolution was to start blogging again because I miss it so.  And really, when my life is this beautifully hectic, carving out a few minutes feels more critical (see Campbell here, he joined us in September and our hearts are singing!!).  

Since January, I have spent way too much time worrying about how I would explain my absence in this "I'm back" post, feeling guilty I had let so much time pass.  Then yesterday a best friend reminded me that guilt is an emotion we choose.  I can just be back. 

So I'm back, and I'm back with Coconut Milk French Toast because it has become a weekend favorite. I may not always have the time to do a full photo shoot on the SLR, but luckily for you the iPhone 6's new camera feature is pretty darn amazing. 

Coconut Milk French Toast

Coconut Milk French Toast with Apples & Nuts


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed 
  • 6 - 8 slices of good bread
  • 6 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil 
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced into 8ths
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


  • Whisk the coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and flax seed together in a shallow pan
  • Melt two tablespoons of butter or coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and sautée the apples and almonds for 4 - 5 minutes, turning frequently so as not to burn.  Remove from the pan to cool
  • Soak both sides of as many pieces of bread that will fit in the same pan in the coconut egg mixture
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter/coconut oil per two slices of bread in the same pan, and when just bubbling, lay your french toast
  • Let cook a few minutes until the egg firms, flip and repeat
  • Keep warm in the oven until all toast is cooked up, top with the apples, nuts and a little maple syrup

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Carrot & Rice Casserole

Usually when my CSA goodies arrive, I am excited about a seasonal gem, like tomatillos or lately all the great yogurt. But if I am honest, sometimes, just sometimes, I look in the fridge and sigh, "Holy cow! How the heck can I use up all these freaking <insert abundant vegetable>?"

In this case, it was the carrots. Multiple ... bowls .... full ... of both the bright, almost poppy-colored variety, and a plethora of the tamer yellow version.  I'd roasted, chopped and pureed as many as I could for baby food, dropped others in salads, soups and stir fry and still, the damn carrot supply held on.  

Determined to try something new, I found this carrot & rice casserole. Had I planned better, it might have made a nice Thanksgiving side for some of you. I'll tweet that next year. Whether you are long on carrots like me, simply looking for a hearty side dish, or cooking on a Sunday and hoping for a recipe that will sprout leftovers, this dish could be just the trick.

The whole family devoured, baby included. 

Carrot & Rice Casserole
Base recipe here.  
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or parsley 
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 -1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Combine the carrots, rice, garlic, onion, herbs and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  • Add the yogurt and beaten eggs and stir to mix
  • Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with oil or cooking spray, and spread the carrot mix out evenly.  Top with cheese
  • Cook for 45 mins - 1 hour until a knife comes out cleanly. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kid-Friendly Meatballs

My son is two and with that comes an increased interest (demand?) in the food he eats.  I appreciate his determination and have to agree that pasta at every meal doesn't sound that terribleBut the truth is, I am not always in the mood to discuss dinner and that is how these little gems were born.  

Meat has always been one of his favorite foods, he's been known to ask (demand) for it post nap over milk Shape that protein into tiny-people finger food, and he's in heaven.  In this case, I jam packed them with vegetables (kale, carrots, mushrooms and onions) for a complete meal in one dish, and both mummy and Hudson are happy.
Turkey or Chicken Meatballs
  • 1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced mushroom
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red or white onion
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesean
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup steamed, finely shredded and diced kale 
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Saute your mushrooms, carrots and onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes.  With my son, the smaller the dice on the vegetables the better
  • Meanwhile, steam and finely chop your kale
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat with the remaining ingrediants aside from the vegetable oil and bread crumbs
  • Once combined, add two tablespoons of breadcrumbs.  You want the meat still moist but not soggy or drenched.  Add more breadcrumbs if neccesary
  • Heat the vegetable oil in the same saute pan over medium - low heat
  • Add spoon size balls to the pan, frying 4 - 5 minutes per side, being careful not to burn. Flip, and set on a paper towel to drain
  • We serve them plain or with a sauce, which can include, greek yogurt, tomato sauce or Tzatziki

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Maple Soufflé Québécois

Maple Souffle
I love a good a tradition.  I love that my husband and I celebrate our anniversary at the same restaurant each year, that we give each other the same number of presents at Christmas, that we eat specific food every spring when we open the Montauk house, and that my Christmas morning menu hasn't changed in decades.   I find comfort in repetition.  It gives me space to relax and enjoy.

One of the newer traditions in my life was  started by my Dad and it has quickly become a favorite.  Every time we see each other, we cook a new dish.  A dish he has researched, a dish he wants to share or try with me, a dish we will remember.  This past weekend, we made a Maple Soufflé from Quebec and his home town.  An oozy, sweet, pillowy soufflé chock-full of Canadian goodness with one full cup of maple syrup.

This new tradition lets us to sneak away and enjoy a few precious moments together, alone in the kitchen.  A great tradition indeed.

Maple Soufflé Québécois
  • 1 cup of Canadian maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 eggs, separated 
  • Butter for casserole dish 
  • In a double boiler on your stove top (make shift like ours below works just fine!), combine the maple syrup and milk heating until warm
  • Add the oil and flour, whisking constantly for 10 minutes
  • Beat the egg yolks and whisk them into the pot
  • Let the mixture cool while heating oven to 375
  • Meanwhile, beat the whites until stiff
  • Fold the whites into the maple pot and gently transfer all to a butter casserole dish
  • Place casserole dish in a large pan filled with hot water and bake for 50 minutes
  • Serve immediately
My Dad and our make-shift double boiler 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mark Bittman's Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille

 Mark Bittman's Chickpea and Fennell Ratatouille
The mark of a good dish can be many things.  The creativity, the flavor, or just the simplicity.  As the holidays approach and I start to plan a number of larger family meals, the main mark for me becomes making it onto my extended holiday menu. That list of 2-3 meals, outside of the traditional big holiday events, that I will cook for a crowd.  After just a few bites, this list was all I could think of when devouring this ratatouille. 

Sure, it came from the Vegan Before Six marketing bonanza series. Yes, it happens to be gluten free.  But I promise you none of that matters.  This dish is just so so so right.  When Mr. Bittman calls it one of his best, he really isn't exaggerating.  It is deliriously aromatic and so rich in flavor I challenge any meat lover to not enjoy it.  It will grandily and happily grace our table this December 26th as a delicious, healthy second act to Christmas eating.

Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille
  • Optional: 1 pound eggplant cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can, drained
  • 1 onion, finely sliced 
  • 2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, rimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt & Peppers to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Combine all ingrediants except the oil, chickpeas and thyme in a roasting pan.  Drizzle the oil over, toss to combine
  • Roast in the oven, stirring twice, for about 30 minutes
  • Add the chickpeas, stir to combine, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the herbs, season to taste and enjoy over rice or alone.
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