Profile

allakarasik

Love cooking, been cooking since I was about 10. Was considering culinary school when I finished high school, but ended up in fashion instead. So now I design by day, and cook as a hobby every chance I get.

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Favorite foods: I lived in Miami for awhile and became totally obsessed with Cuban food. Not fancy fusion, just no frills Cuban food. Ah, and Cuban coffee!
    Any type of cuisine though, I'll give it a try.
  • Last bite on earth: Tough. Hmmm. A chunk of fresh warm bread with a drizzle of the best olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey

I made my turkey like this last year. I didn't brine it, I didn't air dry it in the fridge. I took it out of the fridge in the morning, let it come mostly to room temp. Spatchcocked it, seasoned it, and tossed it in the oven. At first spatchocking a large turkey seems scary, but once you get going it happens fast. Make sure you have good strong kitchen shears and go slowly. I was worried about how the presentation would look, so I only sliced up half the bird in the kitchen and presented it with both halves on the plate, with some grapes and nuts decorating the plate. The turkey was so good though that I had to cut up the second half of the bird very quickly so that everyone could have seconds. It really was the most incredibly easy, juicy bird anyone at the table had ever had.

Easy Peach Turnovers

This is the type of thing that can be so easily thrown together if you have just a few ingredients around. I made something similar just last week, used fresh diced peaches, sprinkled with just a touch of sugar and corn starch to absorb the juices. Also put a smear of organic peach preserves to bring more sweetness. About 15-20 minutes of work for 6 pieces, but they are delicious and impressive.

Vegeta

Vegeta is like a seasoning salt of sorts. In Brooklyn NY you can find it in every Eastern European market. Growing up there was always a tin of this seasoning in the cabinet and I remember my mom using it for many different dishes. A teaspoon or 2 into a pot of soup and into stews of all kind. Try it on different things as a seasoning, steamed veggies, different meats. Just be sure to use a light hand at first until you get used to the flavor. For my taste I always like it in some type of stew preparation that has both meat and potatoes, Eastern European staples.

Bake the Book: 'Marshmallow Madness'

An herbal scented marshmallow to float in a cocktail would be amazing

Good recipe for tonno- fancy tuna

I made a recipe recently that was basically a mediterranean flavored tuna salad, stuffed into roasted peppers. The flavors all work well together and the taste is so light, more like an appitizer than a meal. Here is a link similar to the recipe that I made.

http://www.delallo.com/recipes/piquillo-peppers-stuffed-with-tuna

Turkey Help

I know the temp seems high, but we have been roasting chicken (parts) at 500 degrees for quite some time and absolutely love the result. That is why this technique and temp spoke to me.
I just don't know how to pull off the recipe I want to use using this technique.
Maple Bacon Turkey Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/maple-roasted-turkey-with-sage-smoked-bacon-and-cornbread-stuffing-recipe2/index.html

In a Pickle: Pickled Red Tomatoes

Pickled red tomatoes are my all time fav. If anyone has a Russian food market in their area you must check out the pickled goods section. You will find everything, cukes in all shapes and sizes, tomatoes, and all sorts of random pickled veggies.
I have always loved garlicky gerkins, and tiny red tomatoes pickled with lots of herbs, pickle spice, and garlic.

Served: Cooking at Home with a Chef

Love this post. My aunt and I are the big food lovers in the family. We can talk about anything food related for hours, but when we get into the kitchen together our styles clash. I finally made it a rule that we each stay at our own areas and not bother the other, this works well.
My husband doesn't really cook, but every once in awhile he will come to help me, or he decides to make one of his 2 specialties. I do a similar thing with him too, I either let him just do things his way and not bother him. Or when he is cooking I help do the prep than just leave him in the kitchen to do his thing.
At home with loved ones food doesn't have to be perfect or look perfect to be enjoyed, sometimes half the days laughter comes from watching my hubby scrub the burnt frying pan.

Foods everyone seems to like but you just can't get into....

Scallops, I just really hate the texture.
Caviar
Stinky cheeses
Red wine
Runny Eggs
Watermelon- it's not that I hat it I just don't get the point, so much work for so little pay back

Pumpkin seed oil

Thank you for your comments. Maybe it was a pumpkin infused oil, not a pumpkin seed oil after all. It was deep orange in color not green. Maybe one day when I have a few spare dollars I will try it.

Bread Baking: 70-Percent Hydration Bread

Can anyone suggest any videos or links with pictures where I can see this type of kneading process. I am a visual person and it is hard to understand the process listed above.
I have only baked bread a few times, have always let the mixer do the kneading for me. The one time I hand kneaded the dough it didn't work out so well for me, the loaf rose than fell over on one side.

Dinner Tonight: Ensalada Rusa

I ate the Russian version of this salad my entire life. My mom always made it with potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, eggs, pickles, and hot dogs. The taste is so addictive you just can't help yourself.
I thought this salad was a Russian regional dish, so I found it was funny that there was a similar salad at the lunch buffet when we were in the Dominican Republic a few months ago. Interesting to know that this salad is made in a few different cultures.

Different backgrounds, different cultures, Common tastes?

I agree with Savtashayna. I think the comfort foods that transend across most cultures are some sort of carb like food, baked, fried or boiled, and usually filled with some goodness. Most cultures have some form of dumplings, hand pies, turnovers, spring rolls, rolled crepes, etc.
I am Russian, my husband is half Fillipino, and we have a ton of friends from many different cultures. Across the board I have never found anyone who will pass up the chance to eat a Lumpia, a stuffed crepe, perogis, empanadas, or burekes.
Stuffed dough transcends all cultures.

Strange food ritual?

I don't like my food to touch on the plate. I have also always been obsessed with having the perfect bite when it comes to things being eaten together. Sandwiches and burgers have to be piled with extras in a way that every bite gets a bit of everything. When I get a deli sandwich I usually rearrange the toppings so that everything is to my liking.

Cook's Illustrated's Thin-Crust Pizza: Works Like a Charm

I know that I did something wrong, so I take full blame. But last week I tried the food processor recipe and it didn't work out for me at all. In all actuality my processor started to smell like burning plastic and a little bit of smoke came out of it. The dough went in the trash and we proceeded to make a second dough with the mixer.
I really want to try the food processor method again but I don't think my husband will let me risk destroying the processor.
My only question is; What type of blade did you have in your processor?

Take off 10 dollar dinners

dito on this topic.

Used cooking equipment

This past summer I held a garage sale, I had a lot of barely used kitchen items that I needed to get rid of. Most of the stuff that I had were gifts that had been sitting in a closet and would never be used, appliances that I bought that I didn't like using (crockpot used once, lower grade stand mixer maybe used several times). I had a bunch of random baking stuff, like silicone backers, molds, tins etc. Things that my mom would by me on a wim but that were simply piling up in my closets and drawers never to be used.
Anyway, my point is, don't shun the "used" because it might actually never have been used at all. See it as "luck" since you are getting something that is still in good condition and at a great deal.

first thanksgiving

Last year I followed a recipe by Tyler Florence were he used smoked turkey wings and vegetables, made totally separate from the bird in the oven. Totally spectacular recipe, I've made it twice the day before I needed it and it was very good for the following few days.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/roasted-turkey-gravy-recipe/index.html

I know it's an old wive's tale, but I _____ anyway.

Here's a weird one that my mom told me just this past year when I was registering for wedding gifts;
It's bad luck to receive knives as gifts!
I asked other female family members and they agreed. I thought back and could not remember anyone ever gifting or being gifted knives within my family. I can't remember the explination of ehy this is such bad luck, sorry.

Eataly- Italian Food Meca

Still in the office luckily. Maybe will wait till tomorrow to head over there.

What Have You Conquered?

I baked, filled, frosted, and even decorated a mini wedding cake. Me and baking doing go together, though it looked a bit "rustic", everyone loved it. It was the biggest culinary accomplishment of my life. I will never do it again, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could.

Recap: Top Chef DC, Episode 1

Finally a personal reason to watch the show. Andrea from Miami was the head chef at the restaurant in the hotel where I worked over 10 years ago. She had won a few awards that year, and she was a pretty big deal. But I remember whenever I would see her after she finished work she was always so cool and nice to everyone.
I never had a chance to taste her food since I was a poor college student at the time. But I remember everyone in her kitchen loved her, and her staff was so nice. Sometimes when I worked the graveyard shift a waiter would sneak me a shot of espresso. Will be rooting for Andrea, look forward to see how far she gets.

Recap: Top Chef DC, Episode 1

Finally a personal reason to watch the show. Adrea from Miami was the head chef at the restaurant in the hotel where I worked over 10 years ago. She had won a few awards that year, and she was a pretty big deal. But I remember whenever I would see her after she finished work she was always so cool and nice to everyone.
I never had a chance to taste her food since I was a poor college student at the time. But I remember everyone in her kitchen loved her, and her staff was so nice. Sometimes when I worked the graveyard shift a waiter would sneak me a shot of espresso. Will be rooting for Adrea, look forward to see how far she gets.

Meaty Parts aka Find Me A Good Butcher, Please!

I second Esposito & Sons. They are a real deal butcher, and every time I have been in there you just see regular neighborhood people buying meat. Everyone there is really nice, sure if you called they would help you out.

Bought some Kohlrabi - Now what?

kohlrabi and apple slaw;
Grated kohlrabi together with grated apple, I think it's about 2 small bunches of Kohlrabi and 2 Granny Smith apples. Some sliced scallion, a little bit of fresh parsley chopped. For the dressing, I do mayo, coarse dijon mustard (I'm sure any type would be ok), a squeeze of lemon, and a touch of sugar.
I actually just made it a few days ago. The same like you, I kept seeing it at the grocer and wondered what to do with it. This salad has become a staple for me, it's so light and refreshing.

Turkey Help

This year will only be my 3 time cooking a turkey. 1st time was an absolute success, second time not so much. This time I would like to get it right without stressing, so I need some help.
I want to try to cook the turkey split open (spatchcocked). I like the idea that you cook it at a higher temp for a shorter period of time. Also cooking it split open will leave me room in my oven for warming other things which is an additional bonus.
My worry is the recipe that I want to use is a Maple glazed, bacon trimmed recipe by Tyler Florence. I made this the first Thanksgiving and everyone is requesting it again. In the recipe you have to baste the turkey every 30 minutes with maple glaze. In the last hour you stick the bacon on the turkey and keep basting over the bacon. Off course this is all done at a much lower temp.
The turkey is going to be in the oven for about 60-70 minutes at 450 degrees. My fear is that if I baste with Maple glaze at 450 the skin will get burnt right away. What I am thinking is only to baste it once at about 45 minutes, than drape the bacon over the turkey right after. Maybe 5 minutes before the bird is done baste again.
My other question is if anyone has tried cooking a turkey split in half (spatchcocked); Did you brine or just season very well from all sides? I am wondering if it is necessary to brine the turkey since I will have so much more surface space of the bird to season when it is split.
Any general tips anyone has that cooked their birds this way please share them.

"Nothing to write home about"

I love reading anything about food in general. I am subscribed to food magazines, and many food blogs. I read restaurant reviews online before going out, be it on Menu Pages or Yelp.

In the last few years seeing these words "nothing to write home about" just makes me cringe. Every time I see these words in a review of anything I want to scream. I find this phrase SO RUDE for some reason, it really makes me crazy.

Are there any phrases that you see online or in the media that drive you crazy?

Pumpkin seed oil

Yesterday I was at my local Turkish market and I spotted a shelf of fancy infused oils. They had a small bottle of rich orange colored Pumpkin seed oil. At $15.99 it is pretty pricey.
Has anyone ever tried this oil?
My husband loves pumpkin, but for the price I hesitated worrying that if we don't like it I will be sad that I spent so much.
Also, if anyone has used it, what do you do with it?

Bread Cookbook Recommendation

Can anyone suggest a good bread recipe book.
What I am looking for;
Recipes that will be easy for a new baker to understand.
A book with not too many different types of flours used in each recipe, I don't want to stock 10 different types of flours in my tiny kitchen.
Pictures, lots of pictures. We have baked a few loaf of bread but I am tired of additionally having to search the internet for how to shape, roll, etc.

Eataly- Italian Food Meca

Anyone in the area of this new Italian "meca" today? Has anyone checked it out yet?
I'm looking forward to a trip over to check it out, but I want to make sure it is open before I walk over there on my lunch break in the sweltering heat.
Someone please review this place!

Wedding Cake Recipe-Small

Me and BF are getting "legally" married this Sunday, actual wedding will be in November. Sunday is also our 6 year anniversary so I thought it would be nice if we had a small wedding cake that day.
I keep coming back to the recipe in Gourmet for Lemon Raspberry Wedding Cake, the ingredients sound so good. The problem is that the recipe is for 50, there will only be 6 off us. Also I don't bake often so I am fearful of dividing the recipe so that I get a smaller cake.
Can I just use a basic cake batter recipe? Any suggestions, or recipes that anyone can share would be greatly appreciated.

What food makes you excited?

My fiance sent me a text this morning saying that a co-worker of his brought in home made empanadas. He also vouched that they were better than the empanadas from my favorite place in Hells Kitchen. Knowing how much I love empanadas, Dave offered to pay her to make a large batch for us
It is the one thing that I just don't have the patience to make & have just never mastered making, but I SOOOOOO love to eat.
That text made my day today, knowing that Friday I will have empanadas.
Does anyone else have a food item like this. Something that makes you excited before you even have it?

Name this cake

When I was a teen the bakery by my house in Brooklyn made this cake that I remember being called a "Black Forest" cake.
But in doing some research I am finding it wasn't a black forest.

The cake consisted of the same chocolate cake and whipped cream as a black forest, but instead of cherry filing, it had fresh bananas and strawberries layered with the cream between the layers.

Has anyone had a cake like the one I'm describing? Do you know the name of the cake? The bakery is no more, and with my birthday coming in a few weeks, I'm feeling nostalgic. Baking this cake is out of the question, I can't bake to save my life!

Freezing Fresh Herbs

I have this constant problem; I buy fresh herbs and end up throwing half away. It's only the 2 of us, and though I cook about 5 days a week, I don't always get to use up all the herbs. Fresh herbs are so expensive where I live that it really makes me feel bad that so much goes to waste.
So my question is; Is it possible to freeze fresh herbs? If anyone has a good technique can you please share it with me.
I will try this Spring to grow some herbs on my window sill, but until than I need some help.

Help me choose a book please

I have to fly from NY to LA on Monday, long flight. I have wanted to read both these books but will only have time to read 1. Trip is only a 1.5 days and it's a work trip, so I just need something to keep me busy on the plane, and maybe before bed.
So these are my 2 books that I want reviews for;
Waiter Rant and Service Included.
Anyone read either or both? Which would you think would be more captivating/entertaining for a long boring flight?

Cookbook Recommendations Needed

I need recommendations for some healthy cookbooks. My BF needs to loose 40lb in the next 13 months before our wedding. He eats lunch at work, and I make us dinner 5-6 nights a week. I dont use a lot of fat or cook very heavy, but I need some help with packing our meals with more nutrients and just generally cooking more well rounded meals.
Would appreciate any recommendations for cookbooks for this issue.

Western Beef Supermarkets

Has anyone been to this supermarket. My mom lives in Florida and randomly came across this market. She says they have fantastic cuts of meat at great prices, I have checked their websites and circulars and she seems to be right. Was just wondering if anyone has visited any of their stores in NY and if they are worth the trip.

Hyde Park, London

I'm going to London for work, never been before and am traveling alone. Anyone know where I can eat a nice cheap lunch and a moderately priced dinner. There is a restaurant in my hotel, but I don't want to sit alone at a stuffy hotel restaurant.
Also, does anyone know of any grocery stores around Hyde Park where I could buy some snacks and drinks, hotel does not have a shop.
Thanks for any suggestions.

The Ultimate Sliders

There's more than meats the eye between these diminutive buns: Check out the science here. About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now... More

Fennel, Arugula and Green Apple Salad

I recently bought one of those Kyocera plastic mandolines—the cheap alternative to large French models—and it's changed everything. Never mind that a cell phone company makes it; this thing works. And it makes me look like a fast, skilled cook,... More