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

In which I give in to temptation

Posted: August 18th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 2 Comments »

I will admit it, I am highly suggestable. One post like this one on Smitten Kitchen, and I’m dead meat. So of course, I casually slid dishes into our weekly menu that will feature slow-roasted tomatoes. I’m sneaky.
Jesse and I went grocery shopping on Saturday, and we stopped at the Union Square Greenmarket, because we have a lot of tomato-heavy dishes, plus a sangria, in the plans and what better way to make yummy dishes than with actual ingredients from an actual farm, instead of from Whole Foods? So, we bought a pint of little yellow teardrop tomatoes, a pint of red cherry tomatoes, and one big honking ugly/beautiful green heirloom tomato which I will be using in a tomato/red onion salad tomorrow night.
Saturday night we made mussels, and hit the mother lode as far as live ones are concerned — we had a grand total of 3 casualties in the whole 4 pounds of mussels!! I was shocked, to say the least. And thrilled. Ecstatic. Gleeful!! So I used the same recipe as I’ve used in previous efforts and had similar success. The sauce-to-bread ratio was much better this time. Basically, everything was just more wonderful this time. Happydays.
While we were enjoying some good food this weekend, we were also trying like crazyfolk to put our apartment to rights. I have painted the kitchen archway, and the stripe on the living room wall. My clothes are put away. All the bookshelves have been built by my wonderful, handsome boyfriend, as have a filing cabinet and a set of shelves. Books are being unpacked. Slow-roasting tomatoes for 3 hours was the perfect preparation, considering that I could set them up and leave them while unpacking.
After htey finished, Jesse made me a pie crust, and I made a quiche with the tomatoes as the centerpiece – egg, bacon, shallots, green peppers, some pulverized roasted garlic cloves from the slow-roasting, and gruyere, lots of shredded gruyere, with the tomatoes dropped in, cut-side-up after the egg mix went into the blind-baked crust. It was great, and we had left-overs for brekkie this morning. Good times.
To use up the rest of the tomatoes, I made soup. When I put the quiche in, I also started sweating some celery and another shallot. When they got all soft and clear, I added about 2 cups of chicken stock-in-a-box, and when that boiled, the tomatoes and garlic cloves that were left. That simmered for about 15 minutes, and then I blended the whole thing up with my immersion blender! Woohoo!
Once the blending was complete, the quiche came out of the oven, and while it was cooling I poured some milk into the soup, to cut the acid and thin it out a little.
We had the roasted garlic and tomato soup as a first course, and then the quiche. And of course, we topped off the night with amazing ice cream sundaes!! Please, if you ever see Herrell’s Peppermint Hot Fudge in a jar at Whole Foods (or anywhere else…) BUY IT!!! It will change your life, I swear.
Ok kids, until next time, in which we lasagna-fy enchiladas!

In which we hit perfection.

Posted: August 14th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

Hi folks.
I have returned to the blogosphere!!!

Since I last gorged on photos, I have indeed cooked. McDonalds has not infested my life. We’re still good. We just happen to have had a few crazy weeks, a lot of weekends spent not at home, or not home much, and as such, no really regular shopping or cooking. BUT, cooking has happened. We had burgers one night, I made mussels with my family at Cape Cod, grilled pizzas with family and friends at my parents’ house the weekend before…. I’ve made risotto and soup and chicken marsala. Two nights ago, I had a huge craving for fried eggplant rounds, but couldn’t for the life of me remember to buy eggs…. so we didn’t have fried eggplant rounds. But I did master falafel, finally.
Now, this was my style falafel. AKA, not what you find in your local Falafel spot. I shape them into patties and I don’t deep-fry, and I’ve come to believe via the evidence on Tuesday night that self-rising flour is indeed the best method for making falafel (I use it as a binder, and to coat the patties before frying.) — I’ve tried bread crumbs of all ilks, seasoned, unseasoned, panko, fresh, whatever, but self-rising flour does everything better, and without compromising the texture, which is what I like second-best about my falafel. Basically, I’m really proud of these.
2 cans chickpeas – smash them with a potato masher.
About a tablespoon of minced onion – I reconstituted dried, because I had it for dip and had a little left over.
A minced clove of garlic, I think.
Cumin, Garam Masala, Curry Powder, Tumeric, Chili Powder, Salt.
A few sprinkles (probably 3 tbs total) self-rising flour.
A little water (only if it dries out.)

Smash, mash, and mix all the above ingredients together, and heat your oil (I used almond oil because it’s good for high-heat cooking. Pick your fave) in your skillet.
When a little flour fries on contact, form the first patty, and pat it gently into some extra flour. Use a spatula to put it into the oil, because the oil will splatter and give you grease burns otherwise.
Put down a few more, depending on how big your skillet is and how much your stove tilts one way or the other. Don’t add too many or the oil will lose too much heat.
Let them get a nice crisp on the first side. Leave them longer than you think you need to. Then, flip. They should stay together and flip easily if you’ve left them long enough. If not…. don’t flip them yet!
Take them out when they’re crispy on the second side, and then put them on a cooling rack that’s on top of a paper-towel-covered cookie sheet. This way they don’t sit in their own grease.
Eat with mango chutney if you’re feeling snazzy, or in a pita with some veggies. Delish.

Last night, we went to see the Dark Knight which was awesome and terrifying and amazing all at the same time. Then, we went to Pommes Frites for a nutritious dinner of french fries and sauce. I had the Irish Curry, which is the best sauce possibly….ever. Jesse had Lemon-Dill Mayo. Also yummy. THEN, we caught the Dessert Truck in Astor Place, which was exciting because until last night, it was basically something I’d heard about from others, but never seen, because I went to school in the Bronx, now live in outer Brooklyn, and work in Midtown. Not where the Dessert Truck hangs out. But I’ve now had one of the top-5 BEST Creme Brulee’s in my life, from a truck on the side of the street. (FYI: of the other 4, 1 was at French Roast and 3 were in Paris.)

In all, last night was basically perfect. I had 3 of my 4 favorite food groups — Potatoes, Brown, and Dessert (the other group? Beer.) That’s right. Potatoes. Brown food (like bread and chocolate). And Dessert (does this need a qualifier?) In a gorgeous city on a gorgeous night with my wonderful boyfriend.

I hit it. :)