Meatballs in tomato sauce by Anjuli

Posted on 02-08-11 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Meatballs

Meatballs in my family make their own meal. They’re palm-sized and ever so tender nestled in tomato sauce with rarely a carb in sight. You could bake them in the oven – yea you could – but we like them simmered until they are just barely held together. Mom recently bought half a whole hog which she split with her good friend Priscilla who lives up the road. They’ll be cooking everything save a few offal, including the head, which are illegal to ship outside state lines. She’s still waiting on the cured bits, but ground pork, raw sausage and chops have graced our table in the last few weeks. It’s damn good pork, out of a small farm in Maine. Today we broke out the ground pork and some grass fed beef.

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Mushroom barley and chicken soup by Anjuli

Posted on 02-04-11 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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In the words of my father, “Darlin, you really went to town on lunch.” Well, not exactly. What he was referring to was our lunch today of mushroom barely and chicken soup with focaccia. The focaccia was made last night by Matt in a baking frenzy – or as much as rolling out pizza dough and topping it with rosemary and goat cheese and little slivers of onions can be considered a sudden impulse. Yet focaccia does lend itself to a certain spontaneity and resulting crusty satisfaction. And we had mom’s post fresh in our heads to fuel the fire. While the dough was being rolled I stuffed a chicken in a pot, covered it in water and made the fixings of a good stock. After an hour or so of ever so carefully simmering the contents – which on mom’s stove requires a ton of finagling of knobs and peeking under the cocked lid to make sure the bloop, bloop is constant – we took the chicken out. I had started to feel the kind of crappy where your head is stuffed with foam and your kidneys hurt and you just want to lay on the floor in the kitchen and moan. So I lay there, perfectly useless, while Matt pulled apart the steaming chicken with a fork and a thumb. I did emerge a few times to pull dark chicken meat from the bowl and pop it in my mouth. I think boiled chicken may still rival the roasted kind in my book. Then we threw the bones back in and continued to barely simmer the stock, for what was supposed to be two more hours. At this point you’re aiming to get all the gelatin out of the bones. Well, unsurprisingly, we fell asleep somewhere in there and woke up at 2am to find the stock had been going strong for three long hours. It was down to about 2 inches in the pot including bones and vegetables and such. Ooops. It smelled divine, but we effectively had the essence of chicken stock, boiled down to very little. Matt strained it while I wobbled around, brushing my teeth, thinking about stock and getting into bed.

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Focaccia by Weezie

Posted on 02-02-11 · Tags: , , , ,

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If I want something impromptu that I can whip up from start to finish in one hour and still call it homemade bread, something I can offer for lunch to dress up a homemade soup, for example, expecting each and every time I make it to hear oooooh, I make focaccia. I make it with my pizza dough, paint it with olive oil, sprinkle it with minced garlic, rosemary and coarse salt and voila, in six minutes at 500F I have a crusty masterpiece.

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Chile rellenos by Anjuli

Posted on 08-10-10 · Tags: , , , , , ,


I grew up in a family that still made good of our leftovers. We pan-fried leftover grilled corn, made meatloaf, stuffed all sorts of vegetables, made soup with bits and bobs of meats and leftover rinds and things. At times I thought it was amazing and at times a cruel joke. Do they really think I’m not going to notice that the corn in my fritter is from the half cob I refused to finish yesterday?! My attitude towards leftovers depended on age, and whether at that age I saw my parents as gods or messengers of evil, plotting against me. Reinventing foods to make something new and possibly more satiating is no laughing matter. It requires gusto which my mother has in spades. Many of the soups, stews, loafs, and stuffings we revere come from these humble roots.

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Grill marks by Anjuli

Posted on 07-16-10 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Brined grilled pork "chops"

Rocky Durham said in a cooking class we took with him back in Santa Fe, if you put grilled in front of just about anything, people will buy it. Seeing as this Santa Fean chef launched a series of successful restaurants, all called Santa Fe with exactly this premise in mind, let’s humor him and give it a try. Salad. Grilled salad. Watermelon. Grilled watermelon. Pizza. Grilled pizza. Springer spaniel. Grilled springer spaniel. Well, you get the idea.

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Black bean soup + Utah’s red dirt by Anjuli

Posted on 02-09-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

"Black" bean soup

Lately I have been reading about the Japanese cooking philosophy, washoku, in a wonderful book of the same name by Elizabeth Andoh. Included in the principles of the washoku philosophy are considerations of: the five colors (go shiki), five tastes (go mi), five senses (go kan), and five ways… of preparing food (go hō). These principles are used to prepare meals daily, from elaborate multi-course kaiseki to the simplest of breakfasts. While they can easily be identified in Japanese cooking, and the Japanese certainly do a beautiful job of interpreting their philosophy, guidelines like these are an excellent way of exploring any meal or cuisine. While the list may seem daunting, it’s quite simple, and quiet effective in guiding us to create healthful, satisfying meals.

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Spicy Tuscan soup by Anjuli

Posted on 01-28-10 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Spicy Tuscan Soup

You can’t go wrong with hearty soups and stews in winter. They make any snowfall feel like the best of snow days, they restore your body and relax your mind, and they simply and deliciously warm you up from the inside out. My family doesn’t eat pork all the time. But when we come across a really good spicy pork sausage, we immediately find a big soup pot to put it in. Allowing the thick coins to soften and infuse a light broth with their rich, spicy, fatty goodness can change your whole outlook on cooking in winter. There must be a group of people out there who have devised recipes that showcase turkey and chicken sausage, but this soup is not one of those recipes. Furthermore, I am not one of those people. The fat and spice is what gives peasant-like soups their umph. It’s why you find yourself leaning in over the bowl and breathing in deep. And fat certainly puts the soul in good ol’ chicken soup.

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Mom’s Uruguayo Pot Roast by Weezie

Posted on 12-06-09 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My good friend and former business partner, Diego, brought me some beef from a little, tiny Uruguayo grocery store in Queens that imports its beef from Uruguay. The store is close to a wonderful Uruguayan restaurant called El Chivito D’Oro in Jackson Heights.

I have traveled to Uruguay over 30 times in the last 15 years for work and pleasure, creating with Diego our travel company, Discover Uruguay, which features travels to Uruguay and parts of Argentina and Brazil. I turned my share of the company over to my cohort about a year ago to pursue my passion for cooking.

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Garlicky white bean spread with parsley and toasted cumin by Anjuli

Posted on 11-02-09 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spiced white bean and parsley spread w/ radish and garlic
We’ve been moving around quite a bit lately, so it’s been hard to find the time to soak beans. Ah, bean soaking. That cooking activity we all say we don’t have time for but of course we do. Well I’ve also grown tired of using canned chickpeas when I’m in the need for some hummus. And the colder it gets, the more I like the idea of a spread and some toasted pita fresh from the oven. While the unsalted kind can work, the texture of the beans many times turns out mealy, and sometimes doesn’t accept any moisture at all. You wind up with an incredibly green, greasy, ball of chickpea dough spinning around and around in your food processor. Not cool. Amusingly enough, this is the first dish Matt and I attempted together, and basically how he was introduced to my cooking. Note to self: salting too early makes for not awesome mouth feel and impermeable starches and proteins.

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Noms Caesar-like Greek Salad by Anjuli

Posted on 07-21-09 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Noms Greek-like Salad

The origin story of the white brined curd cheese from the Balkans has long been a point of contention. As of 2002 the Greeks have the official PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) on “feta,” which was again upheld in 2005 when Denmark, Germany, and France fought to use “feta” as a generic name for any salty, white cheese. As far as the Balkans are concerned, Bulgarians claim the cheese to be a descendant of their “sirene” from the Trakia region in the Balkan Peninsula.

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