Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

In which the Chicky gets Fried.

Posted: May 27th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 14 Comments »

For Memorial Day, I couldn’t cook out. It’s in my nature to cook out on Memorial Day…my fambly always does. I’m not used to not being able to grill even though last year I couldn’t either.

Anyways. Instead, I did the best that I could. I made fried chicken, biscuits, and pie. Berry pie.
It was frabjous. I’ve done a lot of work perfecting my fried chicken, because Jesse’s mom apparently makes amazing fried chicken. And I’ve been told that my fried chicken is as good as it could be. So I’ve gotten fancier. I’ve added Sazon (I can’t live without it), I’ve added panko, I’ve used buttermilk, eggs, both…. But on Monday, I went back to basics. I soaked the chicken legs and thighs in milk while I was out at the park with Jesse and Bruno on a gorgeous day. Then, I just dreged them in egg and flour, and fried them in shortening and vegetable oil.

This is my gorgeous cast-iron skillet, which is the most amazing thing that Hylton left me when he moved out of North 8th street, except for my blue Le Creuset. I got my chicken frying method out of a book called Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. Her method is perfect, when it comes to the cooking. Here’s the basics.
1). Dredge your chicken pieces however you want. I prefer legs and thighs. I usually dip in flour, egg, flour. I usually soak in milk. I season the flour with salt, pepper and chili powder. I season the egg with hot sauce. After I season the chicken, I put it all in the hot oil (the flour from your fingers should sizzle like crazy before you put the chicken in) and cover it. Then, after about 5 or 6 minutes, I flip it over and cover it again. Then, after it’s cooked (and steamed) on the inside, I turn up the heat, and fry it till it’s brown, crispy, and gorgeous.
One of the things that I hate about this kitchen is that my floor’s not even. Since it’s not even, the shortening drifts to one side of the skillet, which leads to problems like this:

The far right hand piece of chicken is burnt to shit. It apparently still tasted fine, because Jesse ate a whole bunch of this cheeken. But because it was in too much contact with the hot cast iron, and not enough contact with the hot fat, the cheekie burnt. Damn.
But, the other pieces were carefully policed, which lead to a beautiful situation, for the most part. The chicken was moist, because while covered, it steams on the inside. It was also crispy, because it had time to get so while the heat was cranked up a little and the oil and shortening were poppin’ and snapping like it wasn’t no thang.

To go along with the chicken, I made biscuits and pie. The biscuits were once again beautiful. I’ve found that the recipe that I posted for Saturday’s entry, which calls for milk and lemon juice, can take a tablespoon of vinegar instead of lemon juice. White vinegar. it works just as well. Also, I recommend that special low-water-content, high fat butter that is ideal for pie crust, because it makes things flakier and more lovely. I also used it in the pie crust, shockingly.
Here are the money shots of both of the above. You have to admit, this is pretty sexy stuff. I’m not going to lie. This is not a healthy meal. This is a high-starch meal. This is a somewhat greasy meal (unless you drain your chicken on paper bags like I do). But damn. it’s a good meal. Lookit that biscuit. Lookit that pie. Look at that beauty.

It was delicious. I am proud of it. But, if anyone has any ideas how to make a berry pie where the berries don’t get all juicy, but instead kind of congeal more…. I’d be very grateful. I’ve added arrowroot and flour and sugar… but not enough. Help.

In which we Break with Tradition

Posted: May 24th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 12 Comments »

I haven’t written about breakfast in this blog. This is mostly because I don’t cook breakfast except on the weekends, and I haven’t been able to cook breakfast on weekends lately because I have been working 7 days a week. Or going to brunch. Heh.

Today, however, I made breffiss.

I love making breakfast. I think it’s the best meal ever, mostly because the things that I like are simple, and taste delicious. For example, today I made biscuits, eggs, and bacon. I was always a little mystified by bacon and by biscuits, because they both stem from a skill set that I didn’t seem to possess, or wasn’t taught — my dad always cooked the bacon (or my mom) and the only biscuits I’d ever had were out of a Pillsbury tube. But I’ve always wanted to make them on my own — I don’t believe that you have to be Southern, or be taught by your grandmother, to make these. I am neither. However, I can make a damn good pie crust. And since basically, biscuits and pie crust are similar processes, with the rubbing in of the flour and stuff, I decided that dammit, I could do it.

I’ve made these biscuits a bunch of times, and I have to say thank you to Alton Brown for this amazing recipe. I really think that anyone could make these biscuits. Today I made them with low water, high fat content butter instead of regular salted butter (I don’t believe generally in unsalted butter). They were flakier, and lighter and more delish than ever.

Here are a few quick pictures before I have to go to work.

When I cook eggs, I generally have a lot of concern about breaking the yolk on the fip, so I do sunny-side up eggs mostly. Until I realized that by covering your pan with a pie plate, you can use conduction or convection or whatever to cook the tops of the eggs without flipping them!!

And this is what the plate looked like with my eggs, biscuits, and bacon. Yummmm!!!

Enjoooyyyyy your day!

In which we get our sexy back.

Posted: May 21st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 13 Comments »

Finally, after basically the first week off since March, Jesse and I went shopping for our weekly list of groceries again, to make our weekly menu.

Tonight was supposed to be simple. It was supposed to be soup and sandwiches. But I decided last night that I was feeling ambitious. I decided I didn’t want to just eat boxed soup. So I decided that we would have Tomato Blue-Cheese Soup out of my Soup Bible.

This soup is delicious.

Both Jesse and I love Blue Cheese, and I’m not going to lie, I could eat Hale & Hearty Soup’s Tomato Cheddar soup 4 days a week. So, this was a total win.

Step 1:
Cut 3 pounds of tomatoes into quarters, cut out the core, and squish out the seeds. Put them in a baking pan and add 3 smashed and chopped up cloves of garlic, some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Put this all in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes:

Step 2:
Chop up 1 leek and 1 carrot. Put them into your sauce pot with about 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 of vegetable oil. Add some salt, and sweat (cook on low while they let out their water and get mushy) for about 10 minutes (this would be the last 10 minutes that the tomatoes are roasting.):

Step 3:
Add about a quart and a half of chicken stock to the pot, along with the roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes (I found that basically what I did was spend 10 minutes fishing the tomato skins out of the pot, and 10 minutes simmering it covered):

This is what it looks like right before you blend it:

Then, you add 3 tablespoons of cream, and “4 ounces” of blue cheese (I used about what looked right to me. Estimate. Taste taste taste!!!). Then, you throw in about 1 sprig of parsley, take it off the heat, and blend it. You can either pour it into your blender, or food processor, or you can do what I do, and use your immersion blender:

And then, you dish it up and eat it happily. I decided to put this soup in front of its picture in the book. As a sidenote, I don’t have any way of holding my cookbooks when I cook, so if anyone feels like building or buying me a cookbook holder, I’d be ecstatic. Right now, my books usually sit on the chair under my work surface, or on the shelf above my head. It’s not an awesome time, but it’s better than nothing.

Anyways, here’s my cookbook on the table, with the zoup, which was delicious:
I highly recommend this recipe. Try it, you’ll like it!!!!

In which we Curry Favor

Posted: May 18th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 33 Comments »

Heh. See what I did there?

I am very sorry to anyone who might read this – I did not cook this week hardly at all. However, in my defense, I did work late 4 nights out of 7 — Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And I am cooking tonight. So…. at least there’s that. Plus, Monday night I was suffering from the end of a serious personal disturbance, given to me at the hands of my friends, who got me righteously wasted for my birthday on Sunday. So really, that only leaves Wednesday, and Wednesday I was so burned out and exhausted that my plan to make falafel definitely fell by the wayside.

However, tonight I made up for it. I made curry. From scratch. Like…. I didn’t make my own garam masala or anything, because I don’t have that kind of time – plus, I don’t know what my own personal curry spice blend would be…. having never made it before and not having an Indian grandmother to teach me about it. So, I bought garam masala from Whole Foods, among other ingredients, and set to work. I generally wouldn’t have made something like this, from scratch, because I found a brand of curry sauce that is so delicious, and all you really have to do is add your protein, vegetables, tomato paste and coconut milk, and let it bubble away until you’re ready to eat. But, I decided it was about time I learned, or at least tried, to make it.

We decided on lamb curry, because we’ve been kind of low on red meat in our lives, and that’s not so fun. So – lamb. I found the recipe for this curry on this website, and decided to go for it. I was a little apprehensive, but what the hell — Jesse would probably eat it anyways.

First, I made the Curry Masala gravy, which I guess was like a flavor base that got added to the curry as it was cooking – it was basically onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices, and water.

It cooked down until it was all soft and mushy, and then Jesse blended it up with our immersion blender, until it was a thick sauce. You’re supposed to do it in a food processor, but for all intents and purposes, we don’t have one of those. (We do, but it’s teeny tiny and a bitch to clean).

Meanwhile, I sauteed some onions, garlic, ginger, green pepper, and a poblano pepper (de-seeded/de-veined) until they were squishy, and added a pound of cubed lamb stew meat. In retrospect, I think that stew meat was the wrong choice – but I’m not sure what would be the right choice, unless I chose to simmer that curry for a couple extra hours. Basically, it was good, but it wasn’t the ideal piece of meat for a reasonably quick (inside an hour and a half) curry. Next time…. next time.

Anyways, this is what it looked like while simmering away with its tomato puree and tomatoes and stuff:

I eventually added some coconut milk as well, so that you tasted “warm” instead of spicy…. because that’s how I roll.

I made some basmati rice with coconut milk as well, and this is what it looked like served up:

It was yummy – Jesse couldn’t wait to eat it!!

He’s so cute. And dinner was quite yummy. And on that note, I am going to bed, because this coming week, we get our sexy back, and start cooking every night that I’m not working again. It’s about durn time!!!

In which we’re kind of a big deal.

Posted: May 10th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 13 Comments »

Yesterday was my birthday. Jesse took me out to a restaurant that I’d wanted to go to for almost 6 months. It was worth the wait. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Thursday night, I made a Hot Brunette sandwich — a riff on a Kentucky Hot Brown. If any of you are from Kentucky, I fully admit that this is not a Hot Brown. Hence, the “Hot Brunette”. You will be able to order this at Two Chairs from open to close, once we get Two Chairs open.

The basic Hot Brown is toast, with sliced turkey and bechamel. You put that under the broiler until the bechamel (which has shredded parm in it) gets all browned and speckly. Then, you top the sandwich with two slices of bacon.

I decided to take this a few steps further. I started the same way, toast and turkey, and I added some sliced Heirloom (Uglyripe, for those keeping score) tomato. Then, the bechamel, and under the broiler. While they broiled, I poached 2 eggs. However, our broiler was being finicky, and I couldn’t get them to the desired level of brown-ness before the broiler shut down each time.
Anyways. Once they came out, I topped them with the poached egg, bacon and some more bechamel.

Loooook….. Preeeeety!!!

They were pretty damn good. Especially with a Brooklyn Brown beer. Yum.

Last night, Jesse took me to Butter for my birthday. I’ve wanted to go to this restaurant since I saw the head chef, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, on Iron Chef. She’s sick. She’s also an excellent judge on Iron Chef. Originally, I didn’t know that we were going there — I thought we were going to Republic, a favorite low-price restaurant of ours, and that we’d go to Butter later on sometime, when we both had a little more flow. But, Jesse decided to throw caution to the winds, and took me there.

The food was amazing. I’m not sure I can give you details of everything, because I’d like to savor the memories for as long as possible. After our expertly trained waitress helped us pick our dinners, and while we waited for our starter, we received two pieces of bread each (one cornbread, and an artisinal loaf), along with two pats of gorgeous butter. Trust me, this was a thing of beauty. No wonder they named the restaurant after it.
While eating those, a runner came by with a mushroom croquette (compliments of the chef for every table) — I’m guessing either she was trying out a new appetizer, or she was just feeling feisty and had to use up her mushroom supply. Either way — this was basically a religious experience. I dont’ know what was in there, and I’m not sure I’d even want to find out, although basically, it was a falafel with a base of mushroom instead of chickpea. Sick. SO good.
Then, our deep-fried soft-shell crabs arrived. They were also amazing, and I think there was a tempura batter involved. So delicious — I can’t believe we ordered them, frankly.

Our meals were exquisite — I had roasted duck breast with caramelized cippolini onions and a rhubarb sauce. It was amazing, and I learned that medium rare is the way to eat duck. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Jesse had roasted monkfish, with mushrooms, clams, and apples. It was also beautiful. We also split a side order of macaroni and cheese, in the spirit of research of course. It was transcendent. Lots of parmesan in the sauce. I got one perfect bite at the end, which had the crumbs, some crispy cheese, and a delicious bite of the sauce. It was perfect. She uses elbows — I use farfalle. Next time, I’ll try elbows and parm maybe.

After we surrendered to our meals (he ate all of his, I had a valiant go of mine but didn’t quite manage it.), the dessert menu came out. The waitress told me that since it was my birthday, I had to have dessert. I was sunk the second I saw the first item on the menu — raspberry beignets.

I’m a sucker for anything deep-fried, and while I detest donuts, I’ll walk over hot coals for a fresh, warm beignet or zeppole. I also ordered a french press of coffee, for $3.50. It was funny, Jesse mentioned something last Sunday which rang true I guess last night — he and I pay 3 times as much for a pound of coffee as we do for a bottle of wine. I guess that might be why last night, instead of ordering a bottle of wine, we got cocktails – which ended up being more expensive than a bottle of wine would have been. And my coffee was much less than a bottle of wine – yet somehow considering that we pay 4 dollars a bottle for wine and 12 dollars a pound for coffee, a 3.50 french press (2 and a half cups of coffee) was a way better deal in our minds than a bottle of wine. Crazy, right? When the french press arrived, I assumed that the waiter would just put it down and let me do wht I wanted with it — which is the way I like it, because I find pressing a french press to be very zen. And as every good barista knows, you bruise the coffee if you press it too fast. But this guy just jammed the french press down for me, and I swear to you, I grimmaced. I almost passed out. It was DISTRESSING. But, I managed — and decided that all the sugar at Two Chairs will be in cubes, and we will only have ONE choice of sweetener for those who are diabetic. None of this Splenda/Equal/Sweet & Low crap. ONE. You can’t eat my cooking and then put Sweet & Low in your coffee. It doesn’t work.

Anyways. The beignets were insane — the best part of a jelly doughnut, only better, and there was this vanilla cream dipping sauce that was just…. I wanted to keep eating it with a spoon. But I was so full, I had to pass up Jesse’s offer of something chocolatey from Max Brenner to end the night, which was a real shame.
The check came with two chocolates — dark chocolate with a salted butter rum caramel center. Insane. So good I looked on the website later and found you could order boxes of 12 of them. This is bad news.

Anyways, that was my amazing birthday dinner which my wonderful amazing boyfriend engineered for me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to top this for his birthday, and I’ve already seared him tuna steaks and made him steak au poivre…. what next?!

Tonight, hopefully, after I get home I’m going to try falafel again. We’ll see, and as always, I’ll keep you posted.

In which I fakey-bakey some Ziti.

Posted: May 7th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 30 Comments »

I love baked ziti. I don’t like making it because it takes forever to make. So I make the fakety bakety kind which tastes just as nice, and doesn’t require nearly as much crap and waiting around. It’s about 65 degrees right now in Brooklyn, not exactly ideal weather for something warm and tomatoey and baked…. but frankly it’s pretty delicious so I’m ok with bucking the weather.

I even have measurements.
Be impressed.

My fakey bakey ziti involves two sauces, and lots of cheese. I make a basic meat sauce (very basic) and a bechamel (also very basic) and I layer them with the pasta like with lasagna, with lots of shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan. It’s delicious. DEEEEE-licious.

Josie’s Fakey-Bakey Ziti

1. Roughly chop 1 big shallot, and mince 1 clove of garlic. Put them in a skillet to soften in about 1 tablespoon of butter and the same of olive oil. Add some salt. Grab 1 pound of ground beef (I used 90% lean) out of the fridge, and throw it in with the shallot and garlic. Let it brown, while you open a big can (28 oz) of Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (Muir Glen makes these. They’re better than regular tomatoes. Really). Also, put a large pot of water on to heat.

2. Once the meat is mostly browned, pour the crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes into the pan, and heat two tablespoons of butter and roughly one and a half of olive oil in another saucepot. Sprinkle in two tablespoons (roughly) of flour and whisk until it looks like meltey butter only thicker. Then, pour in two and a half cups of milk, whisking until there’s pretty much no unincorporated roux left.

3). Simmer the tomatoey sauce for the rest of the time. Bring the bechamel to a simmer, and let it thicken. While it’s thickening, your water should be at a boil, so you should drop your pasta. I used about a pound and a quarter of whole wheat/flax penne rigate. You could use one pound of plain penne rigate and just get more sauce. It’s up to you.

4). When the bechamel has thickened to about when it coats the back of a spoon, stir in about a half-cup of shredded parmesan (big shreds. Use the pre-shredded kind. If you have little shreds, then only a quarter-cup). Drain the pasta once it’s *mostly* done — you want it a little less than al dente. Heat your oven up to about 450.

5). Pour 2 ladlefuls of bechamel into the bottom of a baking pan. Then, add a layer of penne, and a layer of meat sauce (this is a lot like lasagne). Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. As much as you think is necessary. Then, another layer of bechamel. ANother layer of pasta. Another layer of meat sauce. Any left over bechamel. Mozzarella. Shredded parmesan. Until it looks good to you.

6). Put it in the oven until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is all meltey on top, and a bit golden brown.

This is what mine looked like:

Yummmmm. Warm and cheesey and saucey. And left-overy. YAAAYYY!!!

See, look! I not only gave you pictures, I also gave you measurements! I made a dish that I worked really hard to make replicable! Yaaaay Meeeee!!!

Also, special shout-out to my parents, for reading this blog. Thanks for teaching me how to cook. :)

Wanna see my Mussels?

Posted: May 6th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 22 Comments »

I saw a recipe in Bon Apetit for Mussels, that involved sake and hot Thai chiles, and as a theory, it sounded delicious. However, I’ve never had sake. And while I do love wine, I’m not 100% sure my feelings on Sake. Mostly because y’know…. I’ve never had it.
Also, I don’t 100% love speecy spicy food. So basically, it was a bit of a risk for me to try and make the mussel dish. But I was thinking about mussels anyways. Then, yesterday, in Whole Foods on a rogue trip, I saw bags of mussels, for a very reasonable price, just sitting on ice all beautiful and shiny. It got them in my head again.

Last night, I kind of lobbied for Mussels to be tonight’s dinner.

Whole Foods had them for about…. 4 dollars for a 2-lb bag. Of fresh Maine mussels. This was good shit. So we bought them, along with some nice dry white wine, and some curly parsley, shallots, and bread. You don’t need anything else to make mussels, except maybe some garlic.
Sidenote – while I was standing perusing the bread selection at Whole Foods — and I’ll admit that I’m the jackass that squeezes every loaf and tries to find one that sounds right, smells right, etc. — I deemed pretty much every baguette there to be either a). seeded/multigrain, b). sourdough, (which is delicious, but not what I want) or c). thoroughly lackluster. Then, all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman reloading the bread holders. Right there in front of me were several to many beautiful fresh hot baguettes that were still crispy and hadn’t gotten soft or soggy from being put hot into paper bags and left to languish on the racks. I immediately grabbed two in addition to the beautiful round bread that I’d chosen for tonight’s dinner. I even unknowingly convinced the woman standing in line next to us to grab one for herself — she had a chunk torn out to eat before she was even fully back to her cart. I love New York.
So, Jesse and I sat in Union Square, listening to a boy with an accordion and a girl with a guitar sing olde-tyme country songs (think the Carter family, and standards like “Look on the sunny side”) in a kind of bluegrassy/1940’s radio way, and eating one of those lovely baguettes with a wonderful soft cheese that we’d bought as an homage to the days when 1/3 of our food budget every time we shopped was cheese. It was such a beautiful moment. I loved it. I never wanted it to end. — Also, the boy and girl had a La Squisita tomatoes can out, and a sign on the boy’s accordion case that said “Proceeds to OBAMA” and I fell for them. 3 dollars I gave them. Love.

Then I came home and eventually set to the mussels. The recipe was stupidly simple, an element that I love. Basically, you chop up two garlic cloves, and smush them around with your knife’s flat side and some salt until they’re pastey. Then, you roughly chop up one big shallot. Cook that in olive oil until the shallots get soft – about 4 minutes? Just enough time for you to sort through your mussels (about 2lbs is good) and THROW AWAY ANY THAT ARE ALREADY OPEN. This is an indicator of dead mussels — not good times before you kill them by boiling them.

Once the shallots are soft, add about a cup and a half of dry white wine, and bring to a boil. I used a large flat-bottomed, straight-sided skillet for this. When it boils, dump in all your (closed) mussels, and cover. Let this boil until all the mussels open up – this usually takes about 6 minutes apparently. While this is happening, feel free to pour a glass of wine, if you’re the drinkin’ type. Consequently, if you’re not, you can probably use chicken broth and lemon juice and get a pretty tasty variation.
While the mussels are steaming, you can also chop up your loaf of beautiful bread (preferably crusty) and throw it under the broiler until it’s time to take the mussels out. When they’re all open (THROW AWAY ANY THAT DON’T OPEN!!!), take them out with a slotted spoon, and put them in a large bowl (possibly the one that you used to sort them in the first place, only washed out now). Put 2 tablespoons of butter, some chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and boil the sauce until it reduces about 1/4. I didn’t do the reducing, and in retrospect, it would have been a good idea. I just kind of waited for the butter to melt, and while that was happening, I took the bread out, drizzled it with a little olive oil, and sprinkled on a little salt and pepper.

This is what it looked like:

I prettied it up by putting the bread in the metal bowl – you use the bread to soak up the saucy juicy bits after you’ve eaten some of the mussels. It might even be better than the mussels themselves. But not quite.

As evidence, this is what it looked like after, for possibly the first time ever, I ate more than Jesse:

That’s right. We polished off two pounds of mussels. I probably ate more than Jesse. If I’d let the sauce reduce more, there wouldn’t be that much left.

This would also be delicious with pasta of some sort. Probably Linguine – a riff on linguine with clams. In fact, this is a pretty shmancy dish called “Moules Meunieres” — steamed mussels in wine and butter sauce. Which is what we have here. For a little spiciness, which I’d recommend, crushed red pepper flake would be nice.

I loved this.

I’m so happy I made it. Because even if Jesse and Kristin didn’t enjoy it…. for whatever reason…. I loved it and I’m happy and fulfilled. A good way to be.

So on that note, good night folks, until next time…. In which we bid winter goodbye with the last “warm & hearty” meal of the season — baked ziti. Heh.

The things I succeed at, and one at which I fail.

Posted: May 5th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 21 Comments »

I’m quite a competent cook. I have enough skill, competence and imagination to be able to cook lots of things. I can make things up on the fly, and I can follow a recipe. I’m a pretty darn good cook.

Friday, I made some pretty bitchin’ burgers for dinner. It seems to be a thing with us…. but they’re so delicious that Friday Night Burger Night doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. These burgers had shredded gruyere in the middle. I have to figure out how to seal the burgers so the cheese is a pocket, not a clump.
Clearly I must study Keetha’s work more closely. And ask her for tips. Lots of tips.

But they were still quite the yum.

Saturday, there was no dinner. Jesse and I were going to make something he’d found online – the Hot Brown – as a kind of “bistro supper”, which is fancy shmanss for dinner after midnight. But, I didn’t get out of work until after the Food Emporium had closed…. so unfortunately, there was no din din that night.

Sunday though, I did something that I love to do. I roasted a chicken before I went to work at 3, and made my kind of potato salad.
There is potato salad, and potato salad. And then there is the way I like potato salad. I don’t like lots of mayonnaise. In fact, I don’t like mayonnaise at all. I make mine with lots of little potatoes, as opposed to big Idaho potatoes. I buy the bag of tiny potatoes in red, white, and purple that Whole Foods sells. I cut them into quarters, because I really like bite-size bits. I boiled them in salted water, and then made a vinaigrette of olive oil, white balsamic, garlic, thyme, mustard, and scallion. I threw it in the fridge and let it sit while I went to work.

When I got home, we took some of the chicken, and some of the salad, plus a bottle of wine, up onto our roof, and enjoyed the beautiful weather and watched the sun set and said hello to Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was wonderful.

And yes, I will admit, we ended up drinking a second bottle of wine up there. And watching our neighbor shoot firecrackers off hte roof. It was funny.

Tonight, I made chicken salad with the chicken that was left (and I will soon make stock with the carcass). I used a similar vinaigrette, and added a little mayonnaise for thickener. It was pretty darn delicious. I’m really excited to eat the rest of it.

Jesse and I were thinking about things to make this week, and I mentioned that I love falafel. I’ve never been able to make any to my liking. I’ve had lots of good falafel, including the bitchin’ stuff that I had today at lunch.
I have read about 65 recipes on Falafel. I’ve made the recipe from the Culinary Institute of America textbook. I’ve made them like meatballs. I’ve added egg. I’ve added no egg. Breadcrumbs. No breadcrumbs. About a million different varieties. They either don’t stick together, or they’re so sticky it doesn’t work out. I’ve rolled them in flour. I’ve rolled them in breadcrumbs. I’ve made patties, balls, I’ve shallow fried them, and contemplated deep frying them. Basically, I cannot make falafel. It’s really frustrating too, because I love falafel. Every time I eat it, I want to eat it for 3 days in a row. I’ll probably have it again tomorrow, because it’s so good. I wish I could do it at home. If anyone has any insight, I’d be thrilled. I need just a little help because I’m almost there, which I can tell. I’m just not really sure what I’m missing. I need to learn. It’s frustrating.

This week, we will possibly have another go at falafel. Hopefully I will photograph it. Hopefully it will be ok. If it’s not, maybe somebody can help me out. Go to it, foodies. GO GO GO!!!