weekend breakfast scramble.

weekend breakfast scramble.

When I was a kid, I hated breakfast. Clearly, I had issues.

I liked some cereals but without milk. And by some cereals, I mean those of the sugary toxic persuasion, mainly the attempts of candy companies to clamber onto the kiddie-level shelves of the cereal aisle. If milk made it into my bowl, with say, Cheerios, they were accompanied by an equal pairing of sugar, which I meticulously scraped from the bottom of the bowl with every spoonful. My irrational father commanded that we not let perfectly good milk go to waste and thus enforced a strict protocol of slurping down the remaining cereal milk, with its sickly color and floating particles of soggy Froot Loops. (Thus, the dry cereal.) Yogurt was weird. (But chocolate pudding was a go.) Pop Tarts made the list, but only if they weren’t toasted and I was permitted to leave the crusts.

And while most of the population perked at the special-occasion offering of homemade pancakes or French toast, I replied with a grimace, much to my poor mother’s dismay. Years later, I am much wiser and realize that this is ridiculous.

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hearty eggs in marinara.

hearty eggs in marinara.

I’m sure I’ll start whining about the cold soon, but for the moment, I’m loving how the days have been bright and breezy and the nights have cooled enough for jeans and a cardy. Cooler temps also mean it’s finally appropriate for me to post one of my favorite comfort food recipes: hearty eggs in marinara. Put an emphasis on hearty, folks, because this is not a breakfast dish but rather a great excuse for eggs in the evening.

As an equal opportunity omnivore, I am generally open to eating anything, anytime of day. During debauchery-filled college weekends, my roommates and I would arise in the p.m. hours, groggy and in need of sustenance, and while Rachael habitually required classic breakfast fare for her first meal of the day, I was content nuking leftover pizza.

This is probably why, when I spent a semester of undergrad in Alicante, Spain, I was completely at home with their custom of serving eggs with everything at any time but breakfast. Hamburguesa especial, a burger piled high with the standard fixin’s and topped with a slice of jamón (the Spanish love their ham) and a fried egg, was a particular artery-clogging fave.

Susana, the sweet Argentine woman who played the part of my madre while I shared her brightly furnished apartment, also loved topping fried pork cutlet with marinara, melted provolone and, of course, a fried egg. (This delicious culprit was a contributing factor to why, despite my pedestrian lifestyle and the five flights of stairs I regularly climbed up to our brightly painted piso, I did not, in fact, lose weight during my six months on the Mediterranean coast.)

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scallion-ginger broth with shrimp.

scallion-ginger broth with shrimp.

Alas, this post I found in a dusty back corner of my blog’s draft storage room, piled beneath several other incomplete ideas. I thought of it because a lovely fellow blogger requested recipes with fresh ginger, but upon digging into storage to get her a link to this recipe, I discovered I had completed all but the last sentence or two. Ugh.

Nevertheless, I tell myself, as this was a savory treat made early this summer, it’s likely to be a more appealing experience now that the season is tempering and giving way to cooler, breezy nights (at least in New York, anyway).

Note: I’ve left the rest of the post intact to maintain its original integrity… and because I’m lazy.

Despite the steamy weather, I’ve been on a soup kick. My subscription to Everyday Food Magazine was one of the best $10 investments I’ve made in a while. Each issue is chock full of useful tips and practical recipes… and because the issues are pint-sized, you can easily tote one in your purse or back pocket on a grocery run, keep it handy without taking up valuable counter space as you cook and stash it with your cookbooks for future referencing.

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heavenly zucchini patties.

heavenly zucchini patties.

Guess what! It’s been a week of life in the Bronx, and we’ve lived to tell the tale! This may have something to do with the fact that, according to Josh’s Internet research, the neighborhood surrounding the campus is the safest in the borough (listening, ma?). But beyond survival, we’re evolving and on our merry ways to even thriving.

One pleasant feature of this evolution is that we discovered our new go-to grocery stop. It’s a bit more of a hike, but the route is definitely better than walking the sketchy train underpass to Pathmark. Now, we meander west on Morris Park past townhomes with modest side yards, a small garden of fig trees, tomato vines and squash blossoms in full bloom. I found this gem on Yelp as Rosa Frasca Grocery, but the bright green overhang on the building reads BIG DEAL SUPERMARKET. Whoever you are, little market, I’m thrilled you’ve come into my life.

Based on the abundance of pizza and pasta joints in the area (and the parking meters painted to resemble skinny Italian flags), we’ve determined that this new supermarket sits cozily in the middle of one of the Bronx’s Italian neighborhoods, although Arthur Avenue, the tri-boro’s version of Little Italy, we’ve heard has a more affordable, down-home feel than Manhattan’s. Correspondingly, BIG DEAL is smaller and homier than Pathmark and boasts healthy-looking produce, cheeses and even freshly prepared pizza dough (which will hopefully be included in a future post!), as well as a pretty impressive beer selection considering the size of the store. We even walk straight up to the register each time (we were told to avoid Pathmark like the Ebola virus during peak hours) and overall, this locale is much more what we’d envisioned as a grocery home in our new city.

Anyway, the reason for the trip was to pick up some zucchini, mozzarella and breadcrumbs for a meal I’ve had a hankering to make ever since the Allrecipes.com Daily Dish recipe popped up in my inbox: Ms. Sherlie A. Magaret’s Zucchini Patties.

In short: Yummm.

These simple and comforting crispy, gooey rounds will surely make it into your rotation and are a great way to use up a mish-mosh of cheese that’s on its way out.

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chipotle chicken-and-rice bake.

chipotle chicken-and-rice bake.

When you’re borderline OCD about scouring food mags and cooking sites, ravenously seeking inspiration before locking in on a tempting meal quest, you can’t help but pick up a few gems along the way. Gradually, I’ve developed some sense of what flavors mingle together best, as well as which shortcuts are handy and which are epic fails (despite anything you read online about rice noodles, you will actually need to soak them for an entire day).

Eventually, with a fair share of satisfying wins to balance those devastating fails, you’ll manage to throw something together with confidence that it will likely result in an enjoyable dining experience. The following foolproof recipe was lovingly concocted by yours truly and based on a couple recently acquired gems that fall under the category of handy shortcuts:

 

  1. Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce make a fantastic, no-fuss marinade.
  2. Lipton, the quintessential iced tea producers, also offer surprisingly tasty boxed rice mixes.

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chilled cucumber-mint soup.

chilled cucumber-mint soup.

As promised, the souping ensues…

Many moons ago, when there was still a chill in the air and scarves were wrapped snuggly around necks, I stumbled upon a recipe that I thought would interest my mint-loving man. I mentioned it to him. Actual globules of drool could be heard dropping onto his iPhone. (Good call on the screen protector.) He’s been bugging me to make it ever since. However, when it’s 45 degrees outside, a cool-as-a-cucumber meal isn’t what I call comfort food.

But now it’s May. And it’s Texas. So it’s already danged hot. Oh, I know. This is nothing to where we’ll be in a couple months, but I’d say it’s certainly warm enough for a summertime treat. Tuck this recipe in the pocket of your cut-offs, and you’ll welcome the face-melting heat as an excuse to cool off with this refreshingly breezy blend of good-for-you ingredients. (Also a great excuse to hit up your local farmers market.)

To whip together this Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup, brought to you by the Martha Stewart Empire, you’ll need:

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spicy cabbage soup with sausage.

spicy cabbage soup with sausage.

Last week, I attempted to make a dent in the invasive pile of unread magazines that has grown to unreasonable heights on my coffee table. Part of the problem is that, a little over a year ago while I was planning and editing the music section of a city mag, I wisely decided to up my industry knowledge by ordering a three-year subscription to Rolling Stone. In my defense, at a mere 78 cents an issue, it seemed like a steal compared to the outlandish $5 newsstand price.

However, as the semi-weekly issues splayed across my former college coffee table began to gather dust and beer-bottle rings, I realized I’m not actually that big a fan of RS (probably because they don’t have recipes in the back. Also because of the absurd number of consecutive times U2 has appeared somewhere on the cover.) But of course, at the fear of sending trees to die without purpose, I diligently skim through each one and will continue to do so until my subscription runs out in March 2012. So it goes.

Anyway, food, I’m talking about food.  As I reached the end of an issue of Women’s Health and my stomach began to rumble, I thought, Why the heck don’t I make more soup? I’m quite fond of the stuff. And most soups embody so much of what I love in a good recipe: versatility (time to clean out the fridge), simplicity (chop, simmer, slurp) and easy clean-up (the original one pot meal).

On this particular day, as the pantry was rather bare, the versatility aspect was very attractive, so I utilized a WH recipe for a soup of the Savory Moroccan variety for inspiration and proceeded to mangle it until it was something completely unrelated to the original recipe, with the exception of four or five surviving ingredients. Anywho, this is how it went.

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