5.30.2011

Cold Lentil Summer Salad!


After a very hot NYC Memorial Day weekend which included playing in a backgammon tournament (I lost), getting a sunburn (my first of the season), and a few boozy brunches (duh), all I wanted for dinner on Monday night was a light and healthy summer meal. On a day where you don't really want to be slaving away in the kitchen, this lentil salad is easy to prepare and a great base recipe to experiment with all summer long. Enjoy!


Cold Lentil Summer Salad
1 bag of brown lentils (you can use the French lentils if you're fancy)
3-4 medium tomatoes
1 shallot
1 small yellow onion
1 can black olives
1 bunch cilantro
1 package of feta cheese

Summer Vinaigrette
Rice wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
Minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
Cracked black pepper and sea salt
1 tablespoon of Sambal or Tabasco hot sauce
Dash of olive oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (Maille is the best)

1) Sort the lentils (watch out for rocks) and cover with water in a large pot. Boil until soft (but not too soft - we're not making soup here). If you want even more flavor, cook these in a veggie or chicken stock.

2) While the lentils cook, put together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette (season to taste) and set aside.

3) Dice the tomatoes, shallots, onion, black olives, and cilantro and mix together with the vinaigrette. While the lentils cook, the onions and tomatoes will take on the flavors of this yummy sauce.

4) Relax, blast the AC, read the Post.

The more FETA, the BETTA'

5) Once the little lentils are done, mix them into the veggies, crumble Feta cheese on top, & stick it all into the fridge to cool.

Enjoy with a nicely sliced hard boiled egg and a red wine spritzer (don't hate).

3.14.2011

Dumont, Au Revoir

Goodbyes are so hard, but they hurt much less when you're sitting at a table full of bloody marys, huevos rancheros, french toast and friends. Sunday's brunch was a temporary farewell to Sir Clancy, who is traveling to the fair midwest for a 6-week run in a play about female scientists (there should be more of these, by the way), so a brunch was in order to send him off properly!

Dumont, a cozy and perpetually crowded joint in Williamsburg, serves up delicious comfort food (think Gruyère mac and cheese, fluffy omelets with feta and roasted pepper, classic burgers with homemade pickles, roasted beet salad) and may have the most perfect backyard garden ever. Thus, it's always crowded. If you're going during prime brunch or dinner time, reservations should be made. And once you're in, you'll see why it's the perfect spot to spend a few quality Sunday hours, for a quick hello or a long au revoir.

Warm french toast with blackberries.

SYRUP! (hopefully, real maple from Vermont)

The reason for brunch, Sir Clancy

Brunch people! LZO

Naveen, always keeping it classy.

3.06.2011

After a long rainy Sunday inside my new Brooklyn apartment (which I am officially in love with) I ventured out to the market, got soaked, and decided to cook some real fancy pants food.

Growing up, I hated beets. I thought they tasted like dirt. And I still think they taste like dirt, but now I really like them. Does this mean I am officially old or I've acquired a taste for dirt? I'm fine with either one.

Anyway, I decided to do a simple roast of the beets and incorporate the beet greens as well and add it all to a fresh arugula salad. I'm hoping all these fresh veggies will make spring arrive in NYC faster.

Roasted Beets and Marinated Beet Greens

4-5 medium sized beets, sliced into 3-inch chunks (save beet greens for later)
Half a small shallot
Juice of one lemon
Whole grain spicy mustard
Olive oil
Arugula
Goat cheese crumbles
One Soft boiled egg


1) Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice, finely chopped shallots, mustard and olive oil. You will use this for both the salad dressing and to marinate and roast the beet greens

2) Drizzle the beets with olive oil and some lemon juice and roast at 350 for about 45 minutes (or until fork tender). You can peel them after roasted - the skin will come off easily.


3) While the beets are roasting, dice the beet greens and add to the vinaigrette. Let marinate until the beets only have about 10 minutes left in the oven and add the greens (and vinaigrette) to the roasting pan. They will get crispy and caramelized and totally delicious.


4) When beets are done, peel and chop and add to your arugula. Top with chopped soft boiled eggs, goat cheese and remaining vinaigrette. Wish for spring.
Gratuitous Rufus shot = always ok.

1.17.2011

Spaghetti Squash Soup with Green Apple

Yeeeahhh, I'm back! So what, who cares? It's so cold outside, that I now make it a goal to stay inside as much as possible - which means, BLOGGING!

Tonight, I decided to experiment and update my old spaghetti squash recipe with the addition of green apple and man, was it a hit. The tartness of the apple plays well with the richness of the squash and I promise, this will warm you up when it's 12 degrees outside. You could make this with regular butternut squash as well but it's just not as fun as spaghetti squash (which is such a weird vegetable, if you really think about it). Enjoy!

Ingredients:
One large green apple
One spaghetti squash
Chicken stock (or veggie)
One yellow onion
Sage, chervil and ancho chili for flavor
Red pepper flakes
Curry powder
Smoked salt

1. Heat over to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. (This takes a lot of muscle so BE CAREFUL.)


2. Fill a baking dish with about an inch of stock, add red pepper flakes, curry, and sage. Place the squash, cut side down, into the stock and place in the oven.

3. Bake for about 35 minutes. (most people would take the seeds out but I really love squash seeds so I left them in for a little pop of flavor)

4. While baking, finely dice the green apple and onion and saute until soft (add salt and pepper).

5. At 35 minutes, if the squash "flesh" is soft, crank that oven up to 450 and turn both sides of the squash over onto their backs, to roast. This helps give the squash a little brown color and rich flavor.

6. Once done cooking, add to the saucepan with onions and apple, add the cooking liquid to the pot (add more if you feel like you need it) and use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Add more seasonings, to taste.


7. Cook for another 10 minutes, until thick, spoon into bowls and serve with a dollop on sour cream.

8. Once done, you'll feel a lot like this guy. He's taken the "stay inside" pledge with me too.