Thursday, September 20, 2012

Appalachian Trail from NYC

This weekend Kyle and I are going to try something new.  We are going to hike a small portion of the Appalachian Trail!  A little known fact, there is actually an Appalachian Trail stop on the Metro-North Railroad about 2 hours north of NYC. 

Rather than re-hash his article, I will let you read this short description by Jeff Thrope for the New York Times.   

We plan on doing the out and back version, I'll let you know how this ends up! 

Meanwhile, here are my preliminary thoughts about food:

Saturday Breakfast: on the train.
Saturday Lunch: Pre-made PB&J, apples, carrots, celery, etc.
Saturday Dinner: Saltines, hard cheese, salami, fruits and veggies, whiskey
Sunday Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit, Coffee
Sunday Lunch: Anything we have leftover?

This is kind of a conundrum for me, we won't really be going that far or away for that long, but we also will be without a method for keeping things cool or heating them up (the Sunday morning coffee is going to be just a rough grind of bean soaked in cold water overnight... it's an experiment).

Any thoughts on food that would make this easier / more fun?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kale and Garbanzo Fusili with Sweet Italian Sausage

It’s recipe day!  I’ve had this floating in my e-mail since February and now that the weather is getting cooler it seemed like the perfect time to make it.  Originally from remedial eating, the recipe below was inspired by this one.  I used Molly’s recipe as a bare-bones framework and altered it substantially, both due to my taste preference and my constant quest to use all leftovers in the fridge before they turn!  We loved this; it’s a perfect recipe for a crisp fall evening.

Kale and Garbanzo Fusili with Sweet Italian Sausage

) olive oil
) 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (ground, or link with casings removed)
) 1 tin oil packed anchovies
) 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves
) 1 roughly chopped habanero chili (leftover from this!)
) ¼ teaspoon peperoncino
) 1 head roughly ripped kale, largest ribs removed
) 15.5 oz (1 can) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
) 1 cup crushed plum tomatoes (leftover from this!)
) 1 cup grated romano cheese
) 1 lb fusili pasta

everything but the cheese

Put your pasta pot on to boil with water that's "salty like the sea" as my Instructor-Chef at the FCI would say.

Slick a large skillet (I used my cast iron) with the olive oil, when up to heat, begin to brown the sausage. (As you can probably tell in my ingredients photo, I did not do a very good job of slicing through the sausage casings, this was problematic later, do a better job than me!). 

pour them right in, oil and all!

Once the sausage begins to brown a little, pour in the tin of anchovies and let them render down a little. 

dump it all in together

After a few minutes, add the garlic, habanero and peperoncino and let them cook until you can smell the garlic.  At about this time, if your water is ready, put your pasta on to boil.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes and cover up everything with the kale.  This will need to steam for a few minutes until the kale begins to cook down.

Now, pour in the garbanzo beans! All you need to do is heat them up, so this can be just before the kale is done to your liking.

stir it all up, see that yummy wilted kale?!

Strain the pasta, retaining at least a cup of the pasta water.  Then return the pasta to your big pot and pour in your skillet full of sausage, kale, beans, etc.

Pour in your cup of cheese, and then thoroughly mix it, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen it up


Serve and enjoy!  One bowl was filling and it transports really easily to work or school for a healthy, delicious lunch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

5 Year Anniversary, in a nutshell

Good Morning on this rainy, dreary day!

No recipe today, instead a light recap of our wonderful anniversary dinner.  We went to Chez Jacqueline and had a superb time!  We started the evening, after I got out of work, by going to Marie’s Crisis for a drink.  Marie’s is where Kyle and I met 5 years ago and although we were there too early for any singing, it was nice to have a quiet drink and talk with some regulars.  Then, off to Cornelia Street Café for our friend John McWhorter’s “NewFaces of 2012”.  This hour long performance featured many of our friends singing Cole Porter songs that, for one reason or another, never became mainstream tunes.  It was a delightful collection of songs and Kyle and I each had an equally superb martini while we listened.  After sticking around for a few minutes to catch up with people and take a photo we were off to the next stop, dinner!  Our reservation was for 8:30 and we arrived right on time and fairly hungry.

Chez Jacqueline has such a cute atmosphere, we really felt like we were back in France in a brasserie.  The family style seating and rough country style table tops really enhanced the experience and the crunchy fresh bread was unreal.  I know it’s taboo, and that’s it’s not really French, but I had the French Onion Soup as my appetizer and it was one of the best versions I have ever had.  The broth was so deep and rich it blew any diner versions right out of the water.  Kyle and I each had a steak with green peppercorn sauce and frites for our entrée.  Neither of us was wowed by this, the sauce was good but the steak itself was little disappointing.  The full bottle of pinot noir we were drinking helped, though.  After a crème brûlée for Kyle and the dessert du jour for me (a peach flavored sort of whipped cream… of course I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called) along with an espresso and cappuccino, we had dined sufficiently and were ready to head out.

It was a lovely night together, and I managed to snap one photo as we headed out into the refreshing September air to head home.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Salad

So, this is a recipe I have had floating around in my e-mail for a long time now.  That’s my system, by the way, for recipes I find online.  I e-mail them to myself and have a “Recipes” folder where I keep them all.  When I began, I wasn’t including the source, but now I do, so I can easily say that this is from Smitten Kitchen!  Whom I love!   Everything she’s posted that I have made has been fantastic!  Exclamation points!

I was wary, I’ll admit, because I have a love-hate relationship with capers and a mostly hate-hate relationship with mustard of any sort.  However, I really couldn’t taste the mustard in a negative way, I was scared it would be too mustardy, but it was just a very subtle hint.  The capers, however, were not subtle.  Next time I make it, I think I will downsize to 1/8 of a cup of capers.  If you love capers, stick to the original.

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Mustard-Caper Butter
 (adapted only barely from Smitten Kitchen)

) 4 garlic cloves
) pinch of kosher salt
) 5 tablespoons room temperature butter
) 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
) 1/4 cup drained, rinsed capers (though I suggest just 1/8)
) grated zest of 1 lemon
) 3 teaspoons dried oregano
) freshly ground black pepper
) 1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed and halved
) 1 lb cauliflower separated into bite sized pieces (I used pretty green cauliflower!)

Mix the garlic cloves and salt and mash them into a fine paste in a large bowl (or use a mortar and pestle, which I don’t have).  Plop in the butter, the mustard, the capers, the oregano, pepper to your liking and the lemon zest.  Now mix it altogether into a buttery, capery blob!

Pre-cooked, pretty green cauliflower
Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and add Brussels sprouts alone for 3 minutes.  Then dump in the cauliflower so the two cook together for 5 more minutes.  Taste a piece to make sure they are cooked through and then drain and return to pot.  

Add the butter concoction to the top of your steaming veggies and stir until thoroughly mixed.  Serve and enjoy!  I added a pinch of salt to ours, season yours to taste.

Other than the alterations I mentioned above, I LOVED this recipe and would make it again soon. 

 Bon appétit chickens!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

5 years today with Kyle, happy Anniversary!  Ich liebe dich Kal