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

1,000 words

Posted: December 21st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 23 Comments »

Perfectly-made falafel. 2 cans chickpeas, 1 partially drained, 1 fully drained. 1 teaspoon baking soda. 3 big tablespoons flour. Hot sauce. Parsley. Cumin, curry powder. Garlic. Shallot. Salt. Pepper. Mashy mashy with a potato masher.
Form into balls.
Roll in seasoned breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry in vegetable oil or sunflower oil or any kind of oil you feel like.
Try to not drool into the oil.

And then…. nom. Amazing. I have no more.

We have a winner

Posted: December 16th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 26 Comments »

Last night, I made an old fave. One that I haven’t made in probably 6 months.
Penne alla Vodka with Chicken Meatballs. Yum!!
And because I haven’t had any batteries, and I suddenly got some really good batteries for my digital camera, I took pictures!! Aren’t you excited? So, a photo-heavy entry it is.
Step 1: Meatballs are made and pan-fried:

These end up a little funny shaped, because they get cooked on one side until they are golden and gorgeous….. and then they get all turned about and golden and gorgeous on other sides:

Mmmmm….. Golden brown and gorgeous.

The sauce is onions and garlic sauteed together until they get all soft and pretty. Then, you add vodka, tomatoes, cream, salt, pepper, and eventually, the meatballs. Mmmm!!!

Then, you add the cooked pasta straight in, mix it all up, and plate. NOM!!!!

Also, this was a gratuitious chance to show off my Le Creuset again.

I love this meal. I love Penne Alla Vodka. Especially with chicken meatballs. And when the vodka is Georgi.


And here I’m drinking milk…..

Posted: December 14th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 2 Comments »

Sunday is generally the day that I catch up on all the food blogs I haven’t read during the week, pick out new recipes that I want to make or want to read again, and troll for new food bloggers that I don’t read yet. We’ll get to Sunday in a minute.

Saturday, Jesse and I were busy. We went out to brunch at Essex, the perpetual favorite, where I once again, for probably the millionth time, got the spectacular Mexican Matzo Brei. The table of tourists next to me asked me what it was, and one of them ordered it. It’s delicious. Scrambled eggs, tortilla chips, all manner of veggies and cheese, with black beans and pico. Amaaaaazing. Mmm :)
After that, we walked up to the Union Square Christmas Market, and did some Christmas shopping. GLEE!! I love Christmas, and sending people gifts, and all that fun stuff. Combining giving people gifts, with a big meal, is the best idea ever. Trust me. My favorite holiday. Evar. Then, we headed to Target, to procure lights, ornaments, and the various acoutrements that accompany one’s first Christmas tree. And, from a vendor on Atlantic….. THE TREE!!!! :)
We came home, set it up, and set our penguin topper atop the branches. It looks beautyful. I promise, I will post a picture once there are wrapped presents under it. :) We watched Rudolph and Charlie Brown Christmas. And then I remembered that I should probably get around to making dinner. So, I baked 2 butternut squash, for soup.

I cut them in half, scooped out the seeds, and poured butter with cumin and curry powder all over them, on the cut side AND the outside. And of course, liberal salt and pepper. I baked them at 440 for about 45 minutes.
(and then I cut Jesse’s hair. I love at-home haircuts).

When they came out, I let them cool and diced up a shallot (small) and half an onion, and a stalk of celery. I put those in a soup pot with some olive oil to sweat out, and added a little salt. When the squash were cool enough to handle, I poured the last of my chicken broth (a cup and a half tops) into the soup pot with the aromatics.
After that went in, I started peeling the squash. Are you supposed to peel butternut squashes before baking? I always peel after. I dunno. So anyways, I realized that pulling off hte peel by hand was too slow. So, since they were mush already, I just grabbed a spoon and scooped out the flesh, into a bowl with all the juices and residual buttery goodness. I added that to the stuff already in the soup pot, stirred, and added 2 cups of water, as well as more salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder.
All that came up to a bubble, I tasted, re-seasoned, and then, busted out my immersion blender. Off the heat, I buzzed the soup up. It’s nice. Even more savory than last time. I think the stock was superior. Fresh Direct recently started carrying another brand of boxed stock, which is WAY better than College Inn’s watery-looking stuff. Much thicker, cloudier, chickenier. Smells better. Looks better. Yields better results. I’m sold.

Today, after fiddling around for a few, I came upon a post at Cooking After Five, for Homemade Oreos. She got the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, which is where I got it from as well, when I made them today.

Both CookingAfterFive and I made a rookie mistake, making cookies that were way too big. Deb at Smitten Kitchen’s recipe makes, reportedly, 25-30 sandwich cookies. I got 16. Next time, using JUST a teaspoonfull, no rounding, and I’m smashing them down. These did not spread and thin out that much at all. Also, it explains the OVER ABUNDANCE of cream filling I have left over. Next time…. and there will be a next time…. I’ll do better.

Argh. I was trying to post a beautiful photo that Deb took of her cookies, but Blogger and I are having a fight. I’m going to go eat another Josie-O. Dunked in milk. So there.

…Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

Posted: December 11th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

Cornbread, immortalized by Chris Rock in “No Sex in the Champagne Room”, is one of those things I should really make more often, considering how much I love it. And how easy it is. I made some off the back of a bag of cornmeal today while I was bored. And I was rewarded with some deliciousness. I’m sitting here, contemplating eating the rest of the pan, knowing I should save it for Jesse, or at least for us to share. It’s difficult.
This cornbread is pretty dead simple:
1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup of flour. 1/4 cup of sugar, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 1(admittedly, heaped) teaspoon of salt. 1/4 cup of shortening cut into the dry ingredients. 1 egg & 1 cup of milk beaten together. Added to the dry mix. Swipe, swipe, swipe, allow for lumps, don’t stress. Bake 22 minutes at 425. Nom!!

I’m making a lentil-and-kale dish to accompany some lovely salmon filets for dinner tonight.
The lentils went into a pot with 2 slices of thick-cut bacon, half an onion, and 2 chopped up garlic cloves. about 2 cups of water and a cup and a half to 2 cups of chicken broth. After 15 minutes, I added a few chopped-fine leaves of lacinato kale, and some red pepper flake and salt.

The salmon, I’m planning to just pan-cook, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I don’t go for fully-cooked salmon. Medium-rare is fine with me. :)

Mmmm…. lentils and cornbread. Yum!

But of course

Posted: December 6th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

So Giada DiLaurentiis is on tv, and that gives me half an hour to blog, because I can’t really stand her and I don’t feel the need to watch while she’s on. So…. blogging.

This week was rough food-wise, because I’ve been working late every night. But this coming week will be spectacular (I hope)

Monday night I worked till about 8. I don’t like working till 8. On my way home, I was feeling very bummed out, because I didn’t want to eat left-over red beans and rice, and because I didn’t want to have worked so late and…. anyways. I stopped at the grocery store next to the subway station, trying to see what they might have for dinner. I found a pound of London Broil (not a cut, but a mehtod, I know!) for ridiculously inexpensive. So I decided we would have, essentially, steak au poivre on the cheapy-cheap. London Broil, frozen french fries, pseudo-au poivre sauce. YUM!

I sprinkled the steak with olive oil, salt, pepper, and my uncle’s dry rub (again, it appears to be granulated onion, garlic, rosemary, and possibly cayenne). I let it hang out for a while, turned on the oven for the french fries, and when everything was hot, I put the fries in the oven, and the London Broil under the broiler.

I sauteed some shallots in butter, and then added the left-over cognac from when I made Steak Au Poivre last time. I didn’t flame it, instead just letting the alcohol boil off a little. Then, I added half and half, instead of cream, simmered it a little, and ta-daaaa, everything was ready!! Yum.

Tuesay, I worked till 8 again, and we ordered a pizza.
Wednesay, we had Velveeta shells & cheese. Don’t judge me. I worked till 8.
Thursday, I made some bangin’ biscuits. They’re my basic biscuits, stolen from Alton Brown. I added a huge hunk of grated romano cheese too, because I wanted to have savory cheesey biscuits. And they were delicious. I added a quarter cup of extra milk because I was trying to compensate for the cheese adding bulk. I didn’t need to, and ended up dusting with way more flour than generally necessary. BUT, I baked them in the cast-iron skillet and they came out delicious!!! :)

Last night, I made chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. It was delicious. There are 2 CFS’ left in the fridge, as well as some mashed tato and some gravy. I’ll probably be having one of them for dinner tonight, since Jesse will be out at a surprise party and I’ll be home alone watching the Big 12 Championship Game in hopes of seeing the Sooner Schooner run around the field after a score. :)

I’m a nerd.

Tomorrow night, we’re having friends over for Mulled Wine and Macaroni and Cheese and Football and Rockband and Beer and ….. joy. :)

In which I hang my head in shame

Posted: December 1st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

Ok. I admit it. I fell right off that wagon. The one I was back on. I tripped, and I fell off. I can’t even remember what I made, specifically, over the week and a half since I’ve last posted. Let’s see. I know that I made chicken fingers on Friday the 21st, Chickpea and Leek soup and bread on Saturday the 22nd, Red Beans and rice, which deserves and will hopefully get its own post, on Sunday the 23rd.
Monday the 24th I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Tuesday the 25th I believe we ate left-overs. Wednesday, we departed for MA, and had pizza from Sorrento’s after the journey. Thursday was a day of much cookery, involving roll-baking, pie-making, and risotto-crafting. Saturday around midday I made a wonderful turkey hash which will find its way onto the menu at 2 chairs during the holiday season. It was so easy too…. shallots and garlic in butter, then turkey and mashed potatoes mixed together in the pan, and pressed down so they got a little crusty. 2 eggs on top. Delicitude.
Saturday night I made Mac & Cheese, complete with a vegetarian version for my brother, which was pretty awesome despite not posessing any pancetta. I learned from my earlier mistake with the risotto, and tasted the vegetable stock compulsively, and the cream sauce compulsively, to make sure it wasn’t too sweet to be delish. I am happy to say that it was comforting, or so I hear from my mom. The regular came out as it always does…. well. :)

Tonight was supposed to be left over red beans and rice, but when your ghetto grocery store is carrying London Broil for 4 dollars a pound, you get on that. So we’re having modified steak frites…. London Broil, french fries, and a sauce of some sort.

And now, with 3 and a half weeks till Christmas, we’re in a serious stretch, and we’re approaching the fist anniversary of this blog. Scary, but true!!!