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Chocoholic: Microwave Mocha Mug Cake

I've tried other mug cake recipes before, but this is the very best. The mocha kick puts it over the top, and it's the perfect pick-me- up for a cold, rainy autumn day.

Cookbooks - What version is best?

I almost forgot... I also still use a 1960's paperback of The Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook.

Cookbooks - What version is best?

I've got three editions of Joy that I got as gifts, and I much prefer the 1975 edition that my mother gave me (she hated to cook, got it as a gift, and had almost never used it; she never noticed the possum or other roadkill recipes). I use Joy primarily for baking, and I'm not impressed with the added and revised recipes in the newer books, and I never made any of the added international recipes because they sounded rather yucky, bland and inauthentic.

I've also been using my original Silver Palates since they were first published, and I worked near the original take-out on the Upper West Side for years, and have been a big fan since then. I've had wonderful results with all their cookbooks, as well as with Sheila Lukins'.

Other favorite oldies are The Talisman Italian Cookbook from the 1950's, which my grandmother got by sending in box tops from Ronzoni pasta packages. And the original Moosewoods, the higher fat versions are tastier, though less healthy.

Fool Proof Pop Overs

To add to the good advice above, I was told by a good friend's mother, who I still consider the popover queen, that it is imperative to NEVER open the oven door when popovers are baking. The blast of colder air will cause them to flop. The ingredients must be at room temperature, and don't let the batter sit around after you've mixed it. And do not overfill the cups of the pan - a little more than half full will do it.

The ingredients the same as Littauer's, but a tablespoon of melted butter is included. It's also mixed by hand with a whisk; it's from the days of yore before blenders or food processors. The pans are greased with butter, and they are baked at 450 for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 for 20 minutes.

Remember - NO PEEKING! When they are done, pierce the tops of the popovers with a knife so they don't fall.

Chocoholic: Easy Chocolate Tiramisu

I am doing the happy dance - I'm thrilled to see a tiramisu recipe that does not contain raw eggs. I ended up in the emergency room a few years ago with salmonella. And since my kitchen isn't anywhere near the air conditioner/window, I'm always glad to have another no-cook dessert recipe for the summer.

This recipe might not be traditional, but it sounds like I'll love it, and so will my family and friends. Chocoholic is one of my favorite SE columns.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Remembering Julia

If it's not too hot I'll make the first Julia recipe I ever tried, oh so very long ago when I was barely into my teens and saw the recipe on The French Chef - Coq Au Vin. If it's not too hot outside, I'll also bake Julia's Madeleines.

Thomas Keller's Chicken Breasts with Tarragon

I've made this dish many times, and it is a typo - it's supposed to be 30 seconds to soften the shallot. Blake's suggestions to double the sauce ingredients are something I've done as well. It's a family favorite.

American Classics: 7 Best No-Bake Desserts

Martha Stewart has a no-bake cheesecake recipe that's really good, though IMHO, not quite as good as my favorite "baked" cheesecake recipes. I've made it often for a friend's son who is allergic to eggs, also when I've had requests for cheesecake and it's too hot to bake, and nobody ever complained:

Best and Fave ways to have Yukon Golds??

I love Yukons for mashing, baking and home fries, as well as for gratins/Dauphinoise, latkes, kugels, soups (esp. chowders), stews,

There's a good and very recipe for chickpea potato curry at Simply Recipes; I make it when I have vegan guests:

Fasoulakia is a wonderful Greek potato, tomato, green bean and zucchini stew that I always use Yukon Golds in:

Julia Child's 100th Birthday Celebration...

Another memory of Julia - when demonstrating flipping a pancake (either savory or breakfast, I can't remember) and it landed on the stove or the table, rather than back in the pan. Julia picked it up with aplomb, put it back in the pan, and proudly proclaimed something to the effect that when you are alone in the kitchen, nobody is watching what you do.

Julia Child's 100th Birthday Celebration...

I was a very little girl when her program debuted on PBS, and I was enthralled with her delivery as well as with her food and recipes. "The French Chef" started my lifelong interest in food and cooking, and my first cookbook purchase was the paperback edition of the TV show cookbook.

Knead the Book: The Art of Baking Bread

After many tries at French bread that didn't yield a crusty enough outside and tender enough inside, I gave up. I tried different recipes and techniques, including spraying water inside the oven.

Whether or not I win this book, I'd love to see Donna devote a "Bread Baking" column to making French bread sometime soon.

American Classics: 7 Best No-Bake Desserts

Kenji's recipe for 10-minute Lime Cracker might be a Columbian, rather than a USA classic, but it's super delicious none the less. It's a year-round super easy no-bake favorite, and I've been making it a lot in this record breaking summer heat:

Cooking with Dietary Restrictions - Help!

Here's a Mexican idea that doesn't involve tortillas that gluten free, egg free and lactose intolerant friends have enjoyed. Marinate some chicken cutlets in lime juice, a little EVOO, wine vinegar, chopped garlic and oregano and maybe cilantro. broil or grill them till done. Serve over some homemade pico de gallo or salsa, with guacamole on top. Serve with a mixed bean, or green, salad on the side.

Joe Bonanno's vegetarian Firehouse False Alarm Chili is also a good veggie dish:

If you can find spaghetti squash, it's really good topped with ratatouille. If rice is OK, you can make a pilaf and top it with ratatouille, caponata or puttanesca sauce.

Enameled Cast Iron: A College Freshman's Dilemma

I also advise a "wait and see" period before buying. And although you will be very diligent in caring for your cast iron, your roomies might not be. There's the risk that if you're not around, it might get used and not cleaned or dried properly. Your roomies might be great friends and might love good food, but they might or might not be interested in cooking or committed to maintaining cast iron.

I've got a Lodge pot and pan, as well as a no name cast iron pan my mom gave me that she got from another relative back in the 60's, and they are all decades old and have always served me well. I've also got a no-name enameled Dutch oven I got in Macy's longer ago than I care to admit that is a mainstay of my kitchen. They are an excellent investment.

I also spent a lot on two Le Creuset pans years ago, which I've been very disappointed with and consider a big waste of money. They take too long to heat, and don't heat evenly - they are large, and the center of the pan heats well over the flame but doesn't extend well to the outer limits.

Supermarket Ice Cream Sandwich Hacks

I'm headed out to the supermarket now so I can make a Ginger Snaps + Pumpkin Butter + Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich.

What to do with stale biscuits?

Crumble some up on top of chicken ala king or a thick creamy chicken and veggie soup, and it should be like a pot pie.

Knead the Book: Southern Biscuits

Butter - lots and lots and lots of it to melt on, and drip all over, hot biscuits. If it's a picnic or I'm serving them at room temp, I serve honey; IMHO, the drippy experience is critical to biscuit appreciation. Cream gravy with fried chicken or chicken fried steak - mopping is just at good.

On Marcus Samuelsson and Red Rooster: What it Means to Be a Harlem Restaurant

This is an excellent rebuttal to an "embarrassingly condescending" article, which I was unaware of before this post. Though I have not as yet dined at Red Rooster, a few weeks ago I saw a group elderly neighborhood black ladies wearing church crowns walking out of the restaurant at lunch/brunch time and chattering happily about it. I've seen other varied ethnic types going in and out of Red Rooster. Marcus Samuels is promoting diversity in Red Rooster, in Harlem and in presenting the variety of styles and dishes of African, American and New York cuisine. It celebrates the past of present of Harlem, and the fact that the neighborhood is, and has been, a very rich cultural part of a very diverse city that prides itself on being a melting pot.

Eddie Huang quotes one local resident, a rapper I never heard of who moans and groans that Red Rooster doesn't do takeout. Maybe Mr. Huang should have interviewed more Harlem residents and Red Rooster diners before proclaiming himself the spokesperson of the 'hood. And maybe he, and his rapper friend, should realize that Red Rooster is just about a 5-10 minute subway ride from Times Square.

5 Reasons to Love Starbucks

Teas that are really good, and an ice cold Iced Tea Lemonade in the summer is a glorious, thirst quenching thing. Great spring/summer/fall/winter selections. Decent pastries that coordinate with the beverage selections. Good AC in the summer, heat in the winter. You can park yourself in a chair, use the free wi-fi and be productive, or just relax and read, without being hassled to spend more money.

Consistency is also a good thing; I know what I'll get in any area or highway rest stop Starbuck's, and it will be better than Micky D's, etc.

Ready Made Dinners

Soups and gumbos are great in advance, and they freeze well. If you roast a chicken on the weekend, you'll have leftovers to make pre-prepare pot pies, use in salads, enchiladas, chilaquiles, risotto etc., as well as in salads. Or buy rotisserie chicken.

You can make avgolimono soup with some of the extra chicken.

Make extra baked potatoes along with the roast chicken, and prep loaded baked potatoes. Make extra broccoli or asparagus, and mix the leftovers in pasta with olive oil, garlic and red pepper.

Have some sauces on hand, like pesto, chimichurri, etc., that go well with leftovers in sandwiches. A grill pan is a great investment for paninnis and Cuban sandwiches - I got one on sale a few years ago, and it's been one of the smartest cooking investments I've made. It's also really easy to grill a burger or a steak for one, and spread one of the sauces on a chicken cutlet or two and grill.


A lot depends on the style of chorizo you like - Mexican, Columbian, Puerto Rican, Portuguese etc.; they are really quite different from one another. So I try to look for the specific style I'm in the mood for at the time. They also sell different styles at Trader Joe's, and the ones I've tried have been very good.

I got this very easy recipe a few years ago from a friend, and it makes really good chorizo:

1 1/2 pounds ground pork shoulder (ask butcher to grind it). Ground dark meat chicken will work too,

1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper - make it heaping if you like it hot
1 tablespoon smoked paprika - make it heaping if you like it smokier
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 largish cloves garlic, very finely chopped

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and let mixture sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours for the flavors to blend.

Shape the mixture into patties, or just use it crumbled.


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