Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bits of Bushwick

Today I decided I was going to get creative. I've been meaning to get out and shoot more, and I really want to find a way to capture the area in which I'm now living. Bushwick has its good and not so good parts. I'm hoping here and in future posts to capture both. 

Shooting today was not only a challenge due to the cold, but it was also for the fact that walking around with a camera makes me especially conscious of my surroundings. By that, I mean I stick out. A white girl, particularly a white girl with a camera, is breaking social norms in my part of town. Race, and my part in the gentrification process, are always on my mind here. And though no one said anything to me while I was shooting, I was very aware of what I was doing. And because of that, I was conscious of what I was capturing with my lens. I chose to shoot today with only my 50mm, not only to push myself creatively but because it would be less noticeable. 

I am still not comfortable in a street photographer role. I will not take pictures of people. I don't want to be the person sticking my camera in someone's face because they are different from me. I have moral issues with that that I struggle with. I am not ready yet to make that social commentary. Maybe someday I will be. But not yet. 
So for today, I hope you enjoy these small bits of my part of New York. Hopefully in future endeavors views will be widened as the community and I become more comfortable with each other. But for a first day out, I was happy with the results. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fake-out Take-out with Garlic Ginger Veggie Stir Fry!

Awesome. I was SO pleased with how this turned out. It smelled kinda funky while it was cooking, the vinegar I think, so I was a little scared for the result. But, no need to worry, this was GREAT! Alex even said it was the best of my recipe endeavors thus far.

Fake-Out Take-Out. I knew I had wanted to make this as soon as I saw it pop up on my google reader, and tonight I was craving something sweet and sour and stir fry, and I had finally bought the corn starch, so this hit the spot!

I followed the recipe for the chicken exactly except for I seasoned my chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

Garlic Ginger Veggie Str Fry! I was proud that this turned out so well, it was an experiment. I would make this again just on its own with some rice.

A few stalks of celery, chopped.
A bunch of carrots, chopped.
One smallish yellow onion
Two Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
a bit of water
a few splashes of soy sauce.

I fried up the garlic and ginger in some canola oil in the wok until nicely fragrant. Then added the rest of the veggies. Then I added a few splashes of soy sauce and a bit of water to get things steamy. I stir fried everything up, then put on the cover and let it steam, stirring occasionally.

The ginger flavor in this was great!

Overall this meal was better then take-out and much healthier and super flavorful! I will definitely be making this again!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Yogurt Sauce

I made these for Alex and I on Saturday night before we headed to the NYC Ballet. They were tasty. I'd make them again, but next time I'd add more, maybe some peppers or chiles, or perhaps some cheese to the end result. These would also be good with the apple yogurt sauce from the Tandoori Chicken Alex made last week.

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Yogurt Sauce (Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food)

1.5 LBS chicken cut into rough chunks
4 scallions, thinly sliced
3 TBS chopped fresh ginger
2 TBS Lemon juice
1 TBS paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
whole wheat pitas
1 cucumber
fresh cilantro
1/2 C plain yogurt

In a medium bowl mix the chicken, spices, scallions. Let marinate for about 10 minutes or so.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor, pulse until coarsely chopped, but not pasty. Gently form into patties. Grill until cooked through.

Yogurt Sauce: 1.2 C Yogurt, 1/2tsp cumin. Combine in a small bowl.

Serve the burgers on whole wheat pitas with cucumber, yogurt sauce, and fresh cilantro sprigs.

Little Boats of Treasure

That's how Alex described these amazing Twice Baked Potatoes. Make them. Now. They're awesome.

I've also been tinkering with recipes a little as I make them, and I did a bit with these as well. For cheese I used half sharp cheddar, half pepper jack to give it a little kick, along with some extra scallions. I also didn't have any buttermilk, and didn't feel like buying any especially for these. So, I subbed in a few splashes of heavy cream, skim milk, and a few dollops of light sour cream instead. DELICIOUS.

Also featured in this meal: Lemon Garlic Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Parmesan Snap Peas.

The Balsamic Glaze is from my Sauces cookbook by Louise Pickford. Simple as can be. Take a 16 oz bottle of Balsamic Vinegar, empty it into a saucepan, boil it for about half an hour or so until it has thickened and boiled down to a half a cup. Wonderful over fish!

The snap peas are also very simple and my favorite way to eat them! Place your snap peas on a baking sheet. Coat/toss with olive oil. Cover lightly with freshly shaved parmesan. Bake for about 5-7 minutes in the oven at about 350 or so. YUM.

Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins

So, this isn't exactly a new recipe. I've made this once before. But they're so tasty I decided to make them again! I've been wanting to make these for awhile, and finally had some bananas in the house, so I thought, why not? I also added a handful of walnuts that I had leftover in the cupboard, so, that kind of makes them a new thing right??

This tasty recipe can be found here. on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, an awesome food blog with very lovely pictures. As I said, I just added maybe about a 1/3 C or so of walnuts. Chocolate chips could also be fun if you have a sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Side note: Yes, that is an electric toothbrush in the background. We have no outlets in our bathroom, so Alex resorts to charging his toothbrush next to the knife block. :-)

Best Beef Burger


Just after I made this, a new burger recipe came up on Pioneer Woman, and now I wish I'd waited and made  these, shoot. Next time for sure. These were good, but not the best I've had. 

2lbs ground chuck
1 TBS dijon mustard
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
Condiments and toppings as desired. 

Mix the ingredients with the beef. Form into patties. Place on the grill or skillet. Cook until desired doneness.

Lentil Soup

Mmmm...this was the perfect cold day soup. Hearty and filling, and nutritious to boot. For those who weren't quite into the parsnip soup..(ie, my mom), this more traditional recipe might be more up your alley. It made quite a bit, and we even had leftovers which was great. 

Lentil Soup (From Martha Stewart Everyday Food Cookbook)

3 Strips of Bacon (I cheated and used 4, but it was Turkey Bacon, so that hardly counts!)
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots (I think I used maybe 4 or so) cut into small pieces (It says half moons, but really, aren't cut up carrots, cut up carrots?) 
I also added in about 2 stalks of chopped celery
3 garlic cloves
2 TBS tomato paste
1.5 C lentils
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3.5 C reduced sodium chicken broth
1 TBS red wine vinegar
Salt n Pepper

In a dutch oven, or other big pot cook the bacon over medium low heat until browned. Pour off the fat. 

Add the onion, celery and carrots, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook another minute or so. Stir in the tomato paste, cook another minute. 

Add the lentils, thyme, broth, and 2 C of water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until the lentils are tender, 30 or 40 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add a little more water. 

Stir in the vinegar , 1.5 tsp salt and a bit of pepper. Serve immediately. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So, new recipes are coming, I promise. I haven't faltered in my goal, I've been making something new each week! I just haven't gotten to typing them up. My plan was to do that Sunday or Monday... that was until I was struck with the most awful food poisoning ever. Gross. Let's just say I became very well acquainted with our bathroom floor. This weekend, cooking updates!, I promise!! 

In addition, I'll be starting my photography class at the School of Visual Arts next week. Exciting, but a little scary. I'm worried they're all going to be super professional crazy good NYC photographers. This city can be intimidating.  In any case, even if they are, I'm still excited, and WILL be getting out to shoot to soon.  I have for sure plans to head to the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown next weekend, so hopefully some inspired, colorful images to come! 

Thirdly, update, Guatemala! So, I get regular emails updating me of travel deals. One of these particular deals this week was for London. I love London. So very much. I was tempted. But then, when I actually went through the process, the annoying lame people at British Airways tacked on another $150 dollars in taxes. Despite telling me in the first place taxes were included. Lame. But, because I was bored, now tempted by cheap travel, and I like airfare searching, I randomly tried Kayak for tickets to Guatemala, which Alex and I have been discussing since before the Honeymoon, and, low and behold, $206! ROUNDTRIP! This, was unbelievable! I called and emailed Alex, and after much discussion later that night, we figured, how can we not?? We actually ended paying a tiny bit more to avoid spending the night in the airport and getting a direct flight, but still! Amazing deal. We'll only be gone for a week, but it should still be a fabulous time! Yay more travel photos!! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt Sauce

Yum! This was very tasty! Even more tasty was the fact that Alex decided to cook it for us! He's been home from school these past few weeks, so has been doing most all the cooking, even though I like to cook, I certainly can't complain.

Tandoori CHicken with Yogurt Sauce, From Martha Stewart! (I promise I will use another recipe source soon, I just really like these!)
1 C plain low fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground ginger
coarse salt and ground pepper (We don't have any pepper, I need to remedy this, even though I don't really like pepper)
4 chicken breasts (Ours were kind of puny, I think this would have been even better if we'd had some better chicken)
2 Granny Smith Apples (We only used one)
1 TBS chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 475. In a large bowl, mis together 1/2 C yogurt, garlic, tumeric, ginger, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 pepper. Alex also threw in some cayenne pepper. Add the chicken, turn to coat.

Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. (Note, use some tin foil, our pan is still soaking.) Roast until an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast reads 160 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the apple; coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro and the remaining yogurt, season with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce alongside chicken, with rice, if desired.

This recipe was great, and fairly easy. My only complaint was that I thought the chicken would be a bit spicier, maybe a little more cayenne pepper or curry powder next time!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

It was snowing on Saturday night, and Alex and I had been lazy champs for the day, and didn't feel like venturing into the cold. However, we still needed dinner. I was in the mood for pasta, and checked the cupboards, and found I had about the right ingredients to come up with something. All these recipes are again from the Great Food Fast book from Martha. 

1/4C white wine vinegar
1 TBS dijon mustard
coarse salt and ground pepper
pinch of sugar
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil

I also added a clove of pressed garlic
and the juice of half a lemon

Whisk the ingredients together, serve. I think I was supposed to slowly add the olive oil, but then I accidently poured it all in at once. It worked, and I doubt you could tell the difference. 

I love this new dressing! It was super easy, there's lots of variations, I will certainly make this again. We also had lots leftover, and it keeps, which is great! 

1 egg
1 medium onion finely chopped
2/3 C breadcrumbs
1/2 C finely grated parmesan
1/2 C chopped parsley
1 lb ground turkey (We only had beef, so I used that instead)
I also added some garlic powder and oregano

In a large bowl whisk together the egg, 1.25 tsp salt. Stir in the breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, and parsley. Add the meat, mix until combined, make the mixture into 1.5 inch balls. (Upon typing up the recipe, I realized it called for milk, I certainly didn't add milk. Opps. However, all worked out fine)

Add the meatballs to the skillet with the sauce. Simmer over medium heat until cooked through.  

Sauce. The meatballs had a different sauce to go with them in the cookbook, but I didn't have the ingredients, so, I made a different sauce. Also from the same cookbook. 

Easy Chunky Tomato Sauce
3 TBS olive oil
1 large onion chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (28 ounces each) of diced tomatoes. I only had one 14 ounce can. So, I improvised and halved the recipe. The other 14 ounces, I used fresh chopped plum tomatoes and a bit of water. 
1/2 tsp dried thyme (I also added some garlic powder, oregano, parsley, etc)
3 garlic cloves (This part I didn't half) 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, .5 tsp salt and pepper, and cook until softened. 

Add the tomatoes with their juice and the spices, simmer stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, 20-25 minutes. 

Overall, the meatballs were awesome. The sauce was pretty good, though could have been thicker, and I think I would like it less chunky, but that's my own fault. Alex said he liked the meatballs but that the sauce tasted a bit bland at first, but after a few bites, said it was growing on him.