• Not Gezellig!,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    Biscuits? Meh.

    biscuits of meh

    I mean, they look okay (despite some truly lackluster photography on my part). My husband said they were good but I found these biscuits dry and bland.

    I won’t link directly to the recipe I adapted from (for fear of starting an intermural food blog smackdown), but it went something like this:

      – 2 cups flour
      – 2 teaspoons baking powder
      – 1 teaspoon dried herbs
      – 4 tablespoons butter
      – 1 cup of shredded cheese
      – 1/2 cup sour cream
      – 1/2 cup milk

      Combine flour and baking powder; cut in remaining ingredients.
      Mix and drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet.
      Bake at 450 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes.

    Having learned my lesson from the last time I made biscuits, I did my best to handle these as little as possible. I made the dough in the food processor, patted them out gently and cut them into circles with a drinking glass. The dough felt pretty moist from the cheese and sour cream, which is why I’m so baffled as to how they came out so dry. And damn, were these bland. There was a hint of cheese to them, but nothing nearly like what I expected.

    So where did this go wrong? Did I screw it up somehow or was the recipe flawed to begin with? Or both?

  • Doing More With Less,  Life in Maison Gezellig,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    When life gives you frozen corn, make chowder.

    Okay, I haven’t been a very good food blogger of late. Truth be told, there’s been some belt-tightening going on in Maison Gezellig. Nothing dire, just finding we need to cut back on some expenses and food is one of the easiest places to start.

    Unfortunately, making dinner out of whatever you find hanging around isn’t a recipe for exciting food blog posts.

    Or, as it turns out, for especially alluring food photography.

    corn + potato chowder

    Which is a shame, really, because this corn and potato chowder was one of the best things I’ve made recently. Even my kid, who usually can’t even remember where she left her shoes an hour ago, saw me editing this photo from last week and remarked on how good this soup was.

    The soup was born from the packages of frozen vegetables that my husband always brings home from the grocery store. There are a few exceptions, but in general, I hate frozen vegetables. They’re always a sad reminder of how they once were before being frozen. Fortunately, for me and my freezer, this soup makes up for it.

    Corn and potato chowder

    Mince one medium onion. Saute in two tablespoons butter until onion is soft. Peel and grate one medium potato. Add about 2 cups broth, enough to cover the potato and onion. Simmer potato and onion until both are cooked through. Meanwhile, dice two more peeled potatoes and a couple stalks of celery. Thaw and rinse one 10 oz. box of frozen yellow corn. Once the potato/onion mixture is soft, puree with a stick (or regular) blender. (This makes the soup creamier without adding actual cream, which I never have on hand.) Add the remaining vegetables, 2-3 cups of milk, a couple bay leaves and a big pinch of nutmeg. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to be sure the milk doesn’t scald to the bottom of the pan. Salt to taste. Serve as is, or with a little grated cheese.

  • 101 Simple Meals,  Greenmarket Grub,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    Photo Friday: Washington Heights Dinner

    washington heights dinner

    Ingredients:
    Avocado from a guy selling them two-for-$1 out of crates on Broadway
    Tomatillo and cilantro from the 175th Street Greenmarket
    Queso blanco from the new Mexican greengrocer on St. Nicholas Ave.
    Limes from a street vendor on W181st Street
    Black beans from Key Food near W187th

    Halve avocados and scoop out some but not all of their flesh. Roughly chop and toss with black beans, queso blanco, cilantro, chopped tomatillos and lime juice. Serve in the meaty avocado shells.

  • Greenmarket Grub,  Nederlands Dat!,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    Greenmarket Grub: San Marzano Tomatoes

    What a rubbish summer 2009 was for tomatoes. I can’t remember eating even one really good tomato this year, which is just so depressing. Still, these San Marzano plum tomatoes were a flickering bright spot in an otherwise bad year.

    Unlike a lot of tomatoes, San Marzanos are really meant for cooking—and if you’ve ever popped open a can of these tomatoes, you know why. Sweet and a little bitter, they’re often compared to a good bittersweet chocolate, which seems fairly apt. They’re nearly all meat inside, with only two narrow seed chambers (compared to four or more in other tomato varieties) making them exceptional for cooking. And with summer being so definitively over (if you can say we even had a summer this year), I knew exactly what to make of these tomatoes: soup.

    DSC_0041.JPG

    Tomatensoep (Dutch-style tomato soup)

    Chop two leeks, two onions, and one peeled carrot and saute in butter (or oil) over medium heat, making sure not to brown the vegetables. Add two pounds chopped, peeled, and seeded tomatoes and a peeled, diced potato. Add enough liquid to cover everything. (I used a combination of water, a bouillon cube and a Parmesan rind.) Add a couple bay leaves and a handful of chopped parsley. Let simmer until all the vegetables are tender, fish out the bay leaves (and cheese rind, if you used that) then blend into a puree. Add salt and/or pepper to taste, as well as some milk or cream, if that suits you.

  • 101 Simple Meals,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    101 Simple Salads: #15

    Two years ago, Mark Bittman came up with 101 easy-to-make summer meals, and being an aficionado of all things in list form, I decided to make my way through the lot. I got through about two dozen, almost all of which were great (and, I discovered, I really quite like anchovies).

    Well, now there’s a new list — 101 Simple Salads for the Season — and I’m giving it a go.

    Here’s our first entry: 15. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro. I love this — the tomato juice-soy thing is incredible.

    #15 : tomato salad

    I honestly think I may never eat tomatoes any other way ever again. It doesn’t seem like it would be that great, but the salty/savory/pungent combination of the soy sauce, sesame oil, and cilantro is a perfect match for tomatoes at their peak of sweetness.

    Oh, Mr. Bittman. Between this list and your recent semi-retraction on your canned beans stance that got me so riled up, I think I might really like you again.

  • Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    Beatles or Elvis? Lemonade or limeade?

    I am a deeply committed limeade person. I don’t dislike lemonade, but it’s just… missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s too sour or maybe it’s missing the sort of floral note from the lime zest, but whatever it is, I love limeade.

    And I love this limeade best of all…

    possibly perfect limeade

    Based almost entirely on this recipe from Red Bird Crafts, this is possibly the most perfect limeade ever. Why? Because it’s a syrup, which solves two limeade problems for me. 1. I like my limeade pretty strong but my husband and kid like it more dilute, so this allows us all to customize our limeade. 2. This makes a lot of limeade without taking up a huge amount of space in the fridge.

    The recipe:

    1 c. water
    2 c. sugar
    8-10 limes, juiced
    zest from 2 limes
    pinch of salt

    Bring water, sugar and lime zest to a boil and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

    Strain, if desired. Add sugar solution to lime juice. Let cool.

    Add 2-4 tablespoons syrup to 12 ounces ice water (or as desired).

    A few notes on limes:

    The juiciest limes have smooth, thin skins and are heavy for their size. If they’re a little yellow, that’s fine.

    In order to get the most juice possible from a lime (or any citrus fruit), juice them with a wooden citrus reamer. Plastic and metal reamers slide around, but wooden ones have a nice amount of grip to get all the juice out.


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  • Greenmarket Grub,  Recipes,  Vegetarian Recipes

    Greenmarket Grub: Chioggia Beets

    Chioggia beets (also called Candy Cane, Candystripe, or Bull’s Eye) are an Italian heirloom variety, named for the Italian city of Chioggia, near Venice, and were introduced to the US around 1840. One of the sweetest varieties of beets — with an 8% sugar content — they lose their distinctive coloring when boiled, although roasting them supposedly helps keep their rings.

    Chioggia beets

    crazy fractal beet

    How crazy looking is that second beet? I was cutting off a piece of skin I’d missed while peeling and it ended up with that fractal effect.

    Those beets came from Migliorelli Farm — one of the only farms I know by name, because their fruit and produce is so consistently good. It also doesn’t hurt that they make fantastic cinnamon-sugar cider donuts.

    I couldn’t bear to have these beets lose their fun rings, so I shredded them with my all-time favorite kitchen gadget, the Borner mandoline, along with a couple of Granny Smith apples and some carrots, to make this:

    ABC slaw

    I’m calling it ABC Slaw (for Apples, Beets, Carrots, not Already Been Chewed) and it’s really simply dressed with just olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. One caveat: it’s best when it’s eaten right away. Otherwise, the beets’ earthiness starts to overpower the other elements and the whole thing starts to taste like, well, earth.