Thursday, September 23, 2010


After making the empanadas the other day and thinking about cornish pasties, I got a hankering for meat and potatoes so I pulled out "Best of the Best from New York Cookbook: Selected Recipes from New York's Favorite Cookbooks" and got a recipe for holiday beef stew. I cannot find the cookbook online, but it's published by Quail Ridge Press in 2001 and edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley.

The last time I used this cookbook I made Champagne Onion Soup. Its Holiday Beef Stew recipe calls for Brotherhood Holiday Spiced Wine. I'm not sure if it's a cookbook or a drinking book, because every time I use it I pass out.

I didn't have all of the ingredients listed for the Holiday Beef Stew. Instead of the spiced wine, I used Bodego Septima's cabernet sauvignon. Instead of the onion soup mix I tossed in three chopped onions and some salt. Instead of carrot, I... didn't put in any carrots.

When I was making it, I was afraid that it would taste too beefy. I put in two large cloves of garlic sliced into thirds and threw them in while it stewed. Towards the end of the cooking, I put in more salt, pepper, and some dried basil. I also added maybe a quarter cup of all-purpose flour to thicken it up near the end.

I woke up in the morning, cleaned up the mess I made cooking and tried out another bowl of the soup. Delicious.

No pics now, but I'll try to get some soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Last night my friends Caley and Lorien came over and we made vegetarian empanadas from stratch. They were delicious. We used a recipe from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food" by Mark Bittman. The recipe, Bean and Cheese Empanadas with Twice-Cooked (Refried) Beans, was listed as vegan, but contains milk and cheese. I'm not sure how that's vegan, but it's definitely vegetarian.

With two of us working the prep took a total of about 30min with one person making the dough, one making the refried beans. The recipe for the empanadas says about an hour (20 min. prep., 20 min. setting, & 20 min. baking) and the recipe for the beans 20 minutes. We didn't have a food processor while making the dough or a potato masher for the beans, but thank's to Caley and Lorien's tremendous upper body stregnth I think it was still pretty easy.

You end up with 12 empanadas about 4-5 inches long. I was in charge of rolling out and filling the dough, but if I redid I'd only make about 8 empanadas because the dough was tearing it was being stretched so thin. That's my excuse for how sad they look, anyway.

I picked this recipe for two reasons: 1.) Lorien is a vegetarian who doesn't eat mushrooms so Jamie Oliver's mushroom risotto was out (from his book "Cook with Jamie") & 2.) I really miss buying cornish pasties at Victoria station in London and empanadas sounded a lot like a pasty to me. In the end the recipe was just as good as Jamie's risotto (yeah, we're on a first name basis) and I think I could definitely get away with using the same dough and filling it with meat and potatoes or what have you.

My only other note on this wicked yummy food is that Caley insisted on pronouncing the "n" in empanada with a tilde above it making it sound more like en piƱata. A delicious surprise inside a tasty case? Close enough.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

English Fries

On page 306 of his book Cook With Jamie, Jamie Oliver gives a recipe for what he calls "April's rosemary straw potatoes with lemon salt." The recipe can also be found here on his website.

I tried out this recipe in my kitchen tonight and took some pictures, but for better pics I recommend the link above.

There was vegetable oil in my kitchen, so I used that instead of the recommended sunflower oil. I used rosemary from my garden. The last change I made was using lemon juice instead of lemon zest. I don't have a peeler for the potatoes, so why would I have a zester for the lemon? The I cut pieces weren't very large, but the taste was great!

I couldn't get the potatoes as small as Mr. Oliver. I'm not comfortable using the knife and I nicked my middle finger even going real slow and watching the whole time! Thank goodness for my fingernail - it took the cut. No blood on my potatoes.

So the potatoes stayed soggy, but, oh my goodness, that rosemary made a difference. Delicious.