Pickle Pantry Essential #8

Pickle Pantry Essential #8: Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste)

My love for Korean food has grown and grown since I first tasted it in college. The pungent flavors, emphasis on seafood, and, of course, totally unique approach to barbecue keep me coming back for more every time. I’m generally not a huge fan of extremely spicy things but love the taste of chili, so Gochujang is one of my go-to condiments. It’s piquant without being mouth sweltering, and has a rich sweetness. I use it frequently to spice up miso soup, glaze fish or meat with it, or simply as a well-rounded alternative to hot sauce. It’s widely available, so pick some up! The brand pictured above is the one I generally buy.

(photo courtesy of Seriouseats.com)

Pickle Pantry Essential #7

Pickle Pantry Essential #7: The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

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Everyone needs their cooking bible, and for me, Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food is just that. It covers the basics in a very approachable way and has inspiring and easy recipes. I especially like that many of the recipes have very few ingredients and emphasize seasonality. I use the book constantly, from figuring out vinaigrette ratios (I know…) to using the easiest cake recipe (1-2-3-4 cake) featured in my Easter party post.

Some “Moozadell” madness

Whatever your view on HBO’s The Sopranos, a fictional TV series centered around the lives of New Jersey Italian mobsters, the show’s inextricable link to food is undeniable. A recent goal of mine has been to re-watch all six seasons of the show from beginning to end. While the Sopranos definitely has many jarring aspects, the culinary motif entices me time and again, whether it’s Carmella’s home cooked lasagnes and “rigot pie” or the salumi platters from Sartriale’s Pork store. This scene, while not centered around actual cooking leaves me amused every time, both the mockery of newfound coffee joints and especially Paulie’s disgust at the bastardization of Italian culture. The language, as usual, is spicy.

Expect more Sopranos food clips as the project continues…

A Brooklyn Chocolate Teaser

DSC_0168Last Thursday, I spent the day jaunting around Brooklyn meeting wonderful chocolatiers and obviously sampling tasty treats. We traversed all around, starting in Dumbo at old school original Jacques Torres, then went to Mast Brothers in Williamsburg, Fine & Raw in Bushwick, Nunu in Boerum Hill and finally Cacao Prieto in Red Hook (the painting above is located across from Cacao Prieto).This is for a forthcoming article, but I wanted to share some teaser snaps from the sweet day of fun.

DSC_0016Jacques Torres

DSC_0036Mast Brothers

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A midweek weekend on Long Beach Island

DSC_0063One of the perks of a flexible schedule is midweek weekends. This week, I spent two and a half lovely days with some friends on Long Beach Island. Although the weather was less than inviting (read: freezing, the photograph above is from a trip there last year–full disclosure), we enjoyed decadent meals, homemade cocktails and dips in the hot tub at my friend’s lovely home. This was a crew of gourmands, and the attention spent on cooking, eating and imbibing was enormous. Needless to say, it was totally fantastic.

I met the group in Philadelphia where we enjoyed a pre-drive lunch of Banh Mis which were some of the best I’ve had (stay tuned, a more in-depth description may find its way into my Huffington Post Top Five Tastes…!) and so ravenous and enthusiastic was I that sadly no pictures made it.

First we stopped at the Hub Cap Place which I couldn’t resist taking photos of….

DSC_0009 DSC_0016 DSC_0018Driving down to the island, we stopped at a local farmstand and bought some amazing produce and local cheeses, including a terrific cheddar with tomato jam. DSC_0020(Gratuitous, I know, but they were gorgeous!)       DSC_0065 After a trip to the local store for some snacks and a bit more produce (see the food trend here?) we arrived at the house and immediately set to work on Sangria. Our lovely hostess (and my intrepid travel partner) Rachael is a master of the winetastic fruity beverage and whipped up some up as we unpacked…

DSC_0023 DSC_0029 image…yes, that last one is an Instagram

There were many other culinary highlights, and sadly I captured only a few…

Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon on the Grill

DSC_0052Flaxseed Banana Pancakes with Fresh Farm Strawberries

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Improvised Asian-style Bloody Marys with Wasabi Powder, Soy Sauce and Lemon. I garnished the glasses with a Tabasco-spiked garlic salt rim, and cucumber skewer and round.
photoCaprese salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Local Tomatoes and Basil from the garden

DSC_0066 DSC_0070Roasted Potato, Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette and Hard Boiled Eggs (What started out as my attempt to use up leftover ingredients turned into something I will definitely make again)                                         First, I roasted the potatoes and asparagus at high heat with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Then, I made the vinaigrette with dijon mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, white and red wine vinegars, curly parsley and olive oil. I caramelized the onions by simply slicing them and cooking them on medium heat on the stove top with some olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sugar until they significantly browned. DSC_0072Then, I simply chopped the asparagus, mixed the ingredients with the dressing and topped it off with some ten minute hard boiled eggs.DSC_0081DSC_0084Our Final Meal:DSC_0086We also had an amazing dinner at Mud City Crab House which sadly was another instance of immense hunger resulting in a lack of photographic capability…

And now, back to reality…