lawyer by day, aspiring chef by night.

  • Location: NYC
  • Favorite foods: cheese. avocado. tomato sauce. ketchup. fahitas. spicy tuna avocado rolls. zucchini. roast chicken. coffee.

Poll: Hot Coffee Weather or Iced Coffee Weather?

Hot tea today, but if I was having coffee it would be iced. I'm lowering my caffeine intake this week so that when I can't have any coffee on Saturday morning (Yom Kippur) I won't get the dreaded headache from lack of caffeine.

Cook the Book: 'The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto'

italy. gelato 3x a day!!!!!!!! glorious.

One arm - This could get tricky

Invest in a cheap electric can opener, so you can open cans of beans etc.

Get a whole bunch of little freezer containers, and make sauces - marinara and stir-fry sauce. This way you have it ready the way you like it and can just heat it and pour.

If you have a food processor, use it - it can shred things as well as chop them up. Also maybe one of those tap choppers could be useful (which I know some people malign but I love for things like jalapenos).

Honestly, this might just be a situation where you need to rely on some pre-prepped food - containers of onions chopped up, jarred tomato sauce (unless you have some in your freezer), pre-shredded cheese, etc. Use frozen veggies - those are already cut up.

Consider cooking meat and freezing it. Make it neutral - just season with salt and pepper, and slice it before you freeze it (so you have chicken breasts ready to go, or roast beef). Even if the quality deteriorates a bit from the freezer, if you mix it with other stuff it should be fine. Or, prepare things like hamburgers and freeze them in patty form. Then you just need to throw them on the pan.

Good luck and I hope the surgery goes well!

Recap: The Next Food Network Star Season 6, Episode 7

The "home cook" challenge was an excuse to get sponsorship and $$.

It would have been much better, and much more realistic, if they just gave them the common pantry ingredients and said that they had to limit themselves to that.

Solo Celebratory Dinner?

HA sorry - just saw that you said you didn't want a place where you needed reservations. Nevermind then! But good luck anyway :) (and to you too, shoneyjoe!)

Solo Celebratory Dinner?

Ok, so - first of all, good luck!!! Bring snacks and wear layers.

I don't have any specific suggestion, but don't make reservations anywhere where they might charge you if you cancel last minute - after I finished the bar exam 2 years ago, I basically went to my boyfriend's apartment and crashed. I don't even know if I ate dinner that night. I just don't want you to be out money in case you are just. too. tired.

Brunch In Manhattan

norma's, if you can get a reservation. get the waz za waffle. it is made from happiness and fairy dust.

What to do with 7 Mangos ???

make guacamole with roasted poblanos and mangos in it.

make a salad with black beans, roasted corn kernels, jicama, and mango, with plenty of lime and sea salt.

(Fast) Lunch Options at/near the Javits Center?

I was there 2 years ago - I can empathize with the misery!

Don't go out for lunch - there isn't much of anything around there, and the last thing you want to do is risk eating something that will upset your stomach. In fact, I don't know anyone who didn't bring their lunch.

I brought the same lunch both days, it fit fine into the bag we were allowed to bring - a challah roll with a piece of grilled chicken, with baby spinach, sliced tomato, mustard, and mayo, and a baggie of grapes. You want to eat something that won't drag you down but will fill you up. I also brought a baggie of gummy bears/sour patch kids and another of peanut butter m&ms.

A couple non-food related tips - wear layers - it was FREEZING in there when I took it so you want to make sure you have a sweatshirt but something underneath it in case it isn't as cold there and for during lunch. I brought 2 watches - my regular one, and an old one that I don't wear anymore for which I can stop and reset the time easily - before each section started, I set the watch at twelve, so that I could easily tell how much time has passed.

Gadgets: The Zoku Quick-Pop Maker

Larikatz, they sell them at WilliamsSonoma

I got one of these as a present - I haven't used it yet (no freezer space right now) but I can't wait to!

Family reunion ideas

Maybe something that is very related to the culture/ethnicity/country of original (or whatever) of your family? ie... swedish meatballs, arancini, borscht, etc

(maybe not borscht. imagine the stains if that sucker broke open in the car!)

I don't like green peppers, but I'd like to.

Green peppers can have a bitter taste which can be off-putting to many people. I'd suggest using them with red peppers for a sausage and peppers dish - I make mine with tomato, too, so the bitterness can work with the acidic sweetness of the tomatoes.

Also, try marinating them in balsamic, olive oil, s&p and grilling them.

Cooking confession...

I love ketchup. mmm mmm ketchup.

I also use dried herbs almost exclusively, unless I am making something in which the herb is a main component (my roasted grape tomato, mozz, and basil pasta for instance).

I always have a bottle of lemon juice AND another of lime juice!

Canned beans. Boxed stock. Boxed mac n cheese at times.

I don't mix hot dogs into mac n cheese but I will saute an onion, add a can of baked beans, and add in some sliced hot dogs along with a TON of ketchup and mustard. mmm mmm ketchup :)

@sherri - I like the trader joes roasted garlic marinara, and barilla makes some pretty good varieties as does newman's own. I had a jar of the emeril sauce and it was really good

Fridge/ Freezer keeps turning on and off

Sounds like there is a short in it somewhere. Assuming you rent, you should tell your landlord - they should send a repairperson to fix it.

How to Make Pitcher Drinks Tastier, Less Diluted

Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes, or use fruit juice cubes!

Or, the other option is just to make the drink in the pitcher and put the ice on the side.

Meals to freeze?

When I was studying for the bar, I have to admit I ate a lot of takeout!

I would make pasta sauce in bulk and freeze it (since pasta only takes a few minutes to boil up). Also, maybe buy chicken breasts, put them in a baggie with marinade, and freeze them - then you can take them out in the morning and as it defrosts it will marinate itself, and then you can cook it quickly to top salads, or put in sandwiches, or add to stir fry (I did this for both chicken and skirt steak). TJs frozen veggie mixes are good for the stir fry option.

I would also figure out a couple take out/delivery places nearby that have options that are lighter and won't weigh you down and make you want to take a nap, because there will be some days when you are too tired/frantic to even think about cooking. By my apartment there is a shnitzel place where you can get a salad with shnitzel on top, I ate that a couple times a week.

Also, keep healthy snack foods on hand - carrots/celery and hummus, etc.

Ultimately, if eating popcorn makes you happy, go with it. Studying for the bar is miserable enough. Popcorn for a dinner a few times a week isn't going to make or break you. Good luck!

How to Deep-Fry at Home Without a Deep-Fryer

@dm - if I deep fried something every time I had an urge (especially for mozzarella sticks....) I'd be the size of a house! I admire your restraint.

Here's looking at you kid--Dinner 4/29/10 ?

Ok - decided on a baked sweet potato topped with caramelized leaks and gorgonzola, and a spinach salad with apple and dried cranberries.

Teaching Fractions and Cooking - No stove

Maybe some no-bake cookies? Haystacks?

Maybe make guacamole and salsa and bring cheese and chips and make nachos?

Here's looking at you kid--Dinner 4/29/10 ?

No idea what's for dinner yet... but a couple weeks after I had surgery in January (gall bladder removal) I made ice cream for a dinner party - but because I couldn't lift my ice cream maker (man, those things are heavy), I pushed it out of the closet (where it lives on the floor) down the hallway to an outlet, and made the ice cream while sitting on the floor.

And I just looked up that meatball tagine recipe.... it looks delicious! Maybe you can just make some for me too, and I'll have it for dinner. :)

A Sandwich a Day: BZ Grill's Gyro, Astoria

@jerkfaceirl - I've seen haloumi at Garden of Eden on 14th Street, though I haven't seen it recently (and I've been looking!). Maybe one of the other G of Es in the city will have it?

Or, I can't remember if Sahadi's in Brooklyn has cheese, but if they do they might have haloumi.

One special-slash-romantic lunch in Manhattan

How about Convivio? Or Morimoto - I don't know how it is at lunch, but they have this kind of set off area that might be romantic.

Work Snacks

I buy different dried fruit and nuts from trader joes, and then I make my own snack mix.

Maybe yogurt or string cheese?

What would you do with Pesto?

Swirled into minestrone soup (which is also a great clean out the fridge meal)

Dolloped on top of pasta with marinara sauce, or mixed into ricotta and fresh tomatoes to eat with pasta

Mix with vinegar of your choice (and more oil, if needed) and use as salad dressing

Mix into yogurt for dip?

Sandwich spread

Roast some veggies (since you said it's too cold to grill) and toss with pesto

Freeze it in ice cube trays to make individual servings whenever you want it!

What's Your Favorite Falafel in New York?

azuri azuri azuri!

man now I want a falafel.

Browning meringue

Hi all. I'm going to be making a lemon meringue cake ( but the recipe calls for browning the meringue with a torch, and I don't have one.

Is there a way for me to do this without a torch? Put it under the broiler and watch it like a hawk? Put it in the oven at a high temp?


Nut-free Carrot Cake recipe needed!

Hi all - I am looking for an awesome carrot cake recipe for my boyfriend's birthday. It can't have nuts (he's allergic). I know I can (duh) leave out nuts but I am worried the cake might be blah otherwise.

He likes raisins in it, and doesn't like pineapple or coconut in baked goods (he's weird). I was thinking of adding some orange zest in the cake, maybe, depending on what else is in there.

I plan on making a cream cheese frosting, maybe with some orange extract if I use zest in the cake.

It will be decorated like Sponge Bob, since my boyfriend is 26 going on 7, not 27.

Thanks in advance!

Browned butter fiasco (curdled butter?!)

I was browning butter to make salted brown butter rice krispie treats, and had waaaay too many issues.

The first time I tried browning the butter, just when it was getting to the point where I needed to watch it closely, I sneezed, and in the time it took me to recover from that, it was burned instead of browned. Ok, no big. Annoying, but it happens.

Then, I clean out the pot and try again. This time, the butter CURDLED! Has this happened to anyone before? What causes it? The pot was clean and dry. I doubt the butter itself was bad, since I put it in the freezer right after I bought it.

Luckily, the third time was the charm.

Mushroom broth expired 9/09 - use or lose?

This might be a dumb question, but I'm trying to avoid wasting food if I can - I have a box of mushroom broth (pacific brand) that is unopened and says it expires in 9/09. Anyone think it might still be good? I've used some of the boxed broths after the expiration date and it was fine, but never so long after...


Dinner help: chicken, butternut squash, and apricot preserves

Hi all - I am looking for some tips. I have some skinless boneless chicken breasts, butternut squash, and apricot preserves.

Here is what I was thinking: cut up the chicken, season and brown it. Take it out of the pan, saute up some onions. Add the squash and some stock, cover and let the squash soften most of the way. Uncover, add the chicken and let it cook through. Toss on some of the preserves and a few dried cranberries and let it glaze everything.

Does that sound like it would work? I'm great with veggies, but I don't cook meat/poultry too often, so I get nervous!

Chocolate dessert

Hi all - I need a kick-ass nut-free chocolate dessert. I'm also making the blood orange olive oil cake I posted about the other day, so nothing too similar to that. Any suggestions would be great!

NY Times' Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Has anyone made the Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake that was in the NYT last year? This is the recipe:

If so, was it any good?

Any other olive oil cake recipe recommendations out there?


Low fat/fat free dip recipe

Hey all - as I mentioned in my previous post, I need fat free/very low fat foods due to having my gall bladder removed.

After I posted I realized that I also wanted a few low fat/fat free dip recipes for my bfs superbowl party this weekend, or a few recommendations for store-bought brands that are actually good.

Has anyone tried making spinach artichoke dip with fat free ingredients, and is it any good?

Post-Gall Bladder Removal Diet

Hi all,

So... I had a quasi-emergency gall bladder removal last Friday. For the next 6 weeks or so I need to be on an extremely low fat diet (though luckily once I slowly reintroduce fats into my diet I shouldn't have any dietary restrictions afterwards).

I was wondering if any of you had any really great recipes for things that are basically low-fat (or no fat), and/or any great herb/spice/flavor combinations that make you not miss fattier complements to food. Also, if you have any recipe for easy breakfast foods (muffins or quick breads perhaps) that are really low fat (or for which you have substituted low fat options that came out well) please please let me know!

It's quite frustrating, because I am generally a healthy eater (with the occasional splurge for fun) and when I look at nutrition labels I look at the whole thing, not just fat content, but now I can't do that :(

Toaster oven recommendations

I need a new toaster oven. Mine sucks. Anyone have any good recommendations? I'm looking for a 4 slice, not a 6 slice, which makes it a bit more difficult to find, I think...


Brand/type of canned tuna

I am going to make the Spaghetti con sugo di tonno recipe on this site for dinner tonight, but I don't know what brand/type to get - there is albacore, and chunk, and of course a lot of different brands. The only thing the recipe specifies is that it be packed in olive oil. What would you guys recommend?

Will Polish Sausage/Kielbasa work with my dinner idea?

Hi all,

I was hoping to make some sliced sausage mixed with sauteed veggies, atop polenta that I've crisped, but I realized I don't have any sausage, and won't be able to get any. However, I will likely be able to get polish sausage and/or kielbasa. Do you guys think that flavor will work instead, and/or do you have any idea how to make it work better?


Franks 'n' beans

I am contemplating making it for dinner tonight, but am thinking about changing it up a bit - but am unsure how.

Usually, I saute some onion and a little garlic, add in the cut up franks and beans (I use Heinz Vegetarian), then add in some ketchup and mustard.

How do you make yours?

Marsala Wine

What are your favorite uses for Marsala wine? I used around 2/3 cup (making Zabaglione Gelato, mmmm) and would like to find a good use for it. Does anyone have a good recipe for chicken marsala, or other good uses?

Also, how long will it be good for? I am going away Wed-Sun and don't think I will have time to use it up before then.


Plum/Nectarine/Peach pie with crumb topping

Hey all - I have 3 plums with which I was gifted that I need to use tomorrow. Since I am allergic to fresh plums (sigh), I was thinking I would make a plum/nectarine/peach pie (depending on what else I can get ripe) with a crumb topping.

Does anyone have a recipe for a pie like this? I know I could google it, but I was hoping for something a little more tested, since this would be my first ever pie (!!)


Non-milk milk

Hey all,

What is the best milk replacement? I've only ever had soy milk, and only in coffee. I am going to make mini cornbread muffins (with jalapenos!) tomorrow for the 4th but need to use soy or something similar. I know there is soy, rice, and oat milk (I can't use nut milk because of allergies), and maybe others that I am missing. What is the best one for something like this, or even just in general?


Dairy-free cornbread

Anyone have any good recipes for dairy-free cornbread? All the ones in my cookbooks have buttermilk in them. I can sub margarine for butter, so if the recipe calls for butter it's fine.

Freezing dairy products

Hi all,

By the end of the day, I will have ~5 oz of marscapone cheese (used in snickerdoodle blondies, omgsofreakinggood), ~2 oz cream cheese, and ~12 oz sour cream left over.

Can any (or all) of these be frozen? If so, what is the best way to wrap/store them? And/or does anyone have any dynamite ways to use up what I have?


Happy (almost) Memorial Day!

Spinach-artichoke dip

Happy Friday, everyone! Does anyone have a great recipe for hot spinach-artichoke dip? I did a search already, but there are about a gazillion recipes for it out there, so I was hoping someone would have an old standby.


I make better _____ than _____.

Today I got annoyed because the guacamole on my lunch from Chipotle was too salty and not limey enough... so I decided to make my own to go with dinner - it was way better.

So it got me thinking - what do you make better than someone who is known for making that thing? What do you do to make it better?

For me, it's my chocolate chip cookies. My grandmother is known for her baking, but my chocolate chip cookies are hands-down better than hers. We use the same recipe (tollhouse), but mine are just better. I think it's because I mix it by hand and use more brown sugar and less white sugar, and better quality chocolate, while she uses the stand mixer, uses the measurements of sugar that the recipe calls for, and omits the salt.

What about you?

Help give me culinary inspiration

Hi all,

I went a little crazy at the grocery store on Sunday and now have a bunch of ingredients, but no real plan. I thought I would come up with one by now, but no such luck. This is what I have:

1 lb pepper steak
1 zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 bunch of leeks
1 container cremini mushrooms
a few shallots
3 white sweet potatoes
2 crowns of broccoli
red cabbage
1 ear of corn
baby carrots
2 avocados
1 mango
1 lemon

I have an assortment of rice, pasta, oils, vinegars, beans, spices, and other pantry staples.

There might be a few other things, but that's basically it. The only thing I can come up with is a stir fry, but that seems ho-hum. I'm looking for ideas that use up some or all of the ingredients - I'm drawing a blank.


6 leftover egg yolks...need some ideas!

I am making cookies tonight that only call for whites. I thought about making lemon squares, but my recipe calls for whole eggs, not just yolks.

I'd make a big heaping bowl of fruit curd of some sort (maybe a grapefruit curd with mint, mmm), but I'd rather make something I can bring to work so that I don't eat it all.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recipes for lemon squares that only use yolks?


stocking a pantry

Hi all. I'm moving to a new house and will need to stock the pantry starting with nothing. I've already got things like flour, sugar, salt, oil, vinegars, mustards on the list. What are your pantry must haves?... More

Surprise Party recipe ideas ?

I'm throwing my husband a surprise party this weekend and the reality of what is happening is just setting in !! It will be small, about 30 people and around 7p.m.My freezer is stocked with just made shrimp,pork & chicken... More

Blogwatch: Caldo Verde

This vibrant soup from Rita of Pink Bites is a sight for sore eyes. The bright collard greens swirl in a base of olive oil, water, and potatoes to make a simple, cheap, and filling dish. Collard greens are full of vitamin A and are a good source of zinc. Seriously, I feel healthier just looking at this soup. Portuguese in origin, caldo verde simply means "green broth," and so it is. Add some sausage if you'd like something a bit heartier, but a nub of toasted bread works well too.... More

Anytime Bread Pudding

The following recipe is from the January 28th edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here! Nicole Rees, author of Baking Unplugged, calls this dish "anytime" bread pudding because she loves to... More

How to Make a Rainbow Cake

Photograph from a.meadowlark on Flickr Aleta Meadowlark of The Omnomicon teaches you how to make a psychedelic rainbow cake. "The cool thing is that if you're making something so distractingly colourful, people will think it's delicious no matter what," says Aleta. I agree; those vibrant, artificial colors have reeled me in. Related: Photo of the Day: Rainbow Jell-O... More