30 September 2011

special guest post from sam & sharon, old ladies in training!

Old Ladies in Training: 
Black Rebel Motorcycle Pie

While the beautiful, brave Jillian recovers, she asked a few of us to do guest posts. So, while I'm not a real deal food blogger, here's an attempt.  Get well soon Jillian!

It was Sons of Anarchy night at my house, which happened to coincide with Sharon's weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those of you who aren't in the know) pick-up.  There seemed like no better excuse to make a pie than the combination of fresh fruit and shirtless Charlie Hunnam, et al.  We had hoped for some peaches in the CSA bundle to go along with some frozen blueberries and blackberries from earlier summer harvests.  Instead, we got apples and plums to go in the mix.  We decided to go with what we had.  Sans motorcycles and gang, we could at least be vigilantes in the kitchen.  And while some call mixed berry pies Blackbird pies, we decided that, in keeping with the theme of the evening, our unorthodox pie would be dubbed Black Rebel Motorcycle Pie.

I started a couple hours ahead of time by prepping the crust.  A procrastinator by nature, I have leaned the hard way (think Thanksgiving eves spent drinking Bourbon intended for my Pecan Pie filling spent sitting on the floor trying to figure out how to properly thaw a turkey while threatening to send my uncooperative crust out the window) that crust prep is the most important part of pie making.  A few hours before baking, I put two sticks of butter and some water in the freezer.  Fifteen minutes later, I took them out to make the dough.

2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 tbsp sized cubes
6 tbsp ice water

In a bowl, I mixed flour, sugar, and salt and then added in the butter cube by cube, strring vigorously until it resembles cornmeal.  Then, I added the water two tablespoons at a time until clumps started to form.  I formed two balls, pressed them down, wrapped in parchment, and put in the fridge for a couple of hours, no less than an hour, and for up to a couple of days.

Like the rebels we are, we kind of winged this, so it isn't exact, but can also be adapted for any fruit filling.
We used about 1/2 c blackberries
1/2 c blueberries
a couple small apples, peeled and sliced
three plums, peeled and sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Roll out one crust ball and line pie dish.

Peel, slice, prep fruit as desired.  Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste.  Mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Line the bottom of the crust generously with flour/sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Add remaining sugar mixture to fruit to taste.  This depends largely on the sweetness of fruit and amount of lemon juice used, but you'll likely have leftovers.

Spoon fruit mixture into prepped crust.

Assemble lattice top by rolling out second crust ball to same size as first and, then, follow this tutorial, which is a godsend for lattice tops: simply recipes' lattice top tutorial

Coat with egg wash (1 egg and 1/4 c cold water, stirred) and pop in the oven for around 45 minutes at 350, or until golden, checking every ten minutes or so after twenty to make sure the edges are not burning.  If the edges of the crust begin to grow too dark, wrap them in tinfoil.

The result was delicious and, by the time the show was over, we had a perfect pie, the ideal mix of sweet and tart.  One we wouldn't be afraid to bring to the table of gun toting SAMCRO members.

Now that you've gotten to know them, keep up with the gals -
check out Sam's non-foodie writing at Skin & Ink magazine and be amazed by Sharon's hauntingly beautiful photography and stunning natural jewelry!  Also, if you're unsure of how CSA works, check out Just Food's page regarding Community Supported Agriculture in NYC and get involved in local and sustainable resources!  Thanks ladies xoxo

28 September 2011

fall into it!

courtesy of Allie at Allez, Allie!, a great blog about
two of my fave things, travel & life in Brooklyn
As you may or may not know, Autumn is my absolutely favorite season.  It's going to be a bit different this season since I won't be able to wear some of my favorite Fall boots, I refuse to cut my tights in half, and Indian Summer will last a little longer for me since hobbling around town on crutches is causing me to sweat my ass off.  But there are a few things about this lovely season that really stand out for me.  Not all of them are food related but I can assure you, dear readers, that they will all make a cameo of some sort in the delirious kitchen.  With that in mind, let's consider this top ten a bit of a preview of what's coming up this season in the delirious kitchen.  Of course this isn't all you can expect.  Also on the horizon are many anticipated baking blunders because of my injury, my [relatively] new obsession with sweet & savory combos, adventures with my new roomie, lots of special guest posts, and lots of revuesdays since my cooking is now limited.  But in the spectrum that is simply seasonal, you can start looking forward to many of the items listed here!  And if I've unfortunately already missed them or find them unblogable, just enjoy their presence as blog blurbs in the here and now.  Happy Autumn!

1. Back to School!!!  It's insane how just a few extra weeks of summer vacation can make me miss the library and the wacky cast of characters I call students.  Now I get to warn them that getting kicked out of the library may be even more painful since my leg is made out of metal!  Until my triumphant return to the library desk though, I can dream of how best to prepare my traditional back to school supper - spaghetti and meatballs.  For as long as I can remember, my first day of school ended with a heaping plate of saucy pasta with huge lumps of seasoned ground beef and loads of parmesan cheese that I shoveled into my mouth between breaths and exasperating tales of new teachers and trapper keepers.  Even though I cook for myself now, I still hold up the tradition of fixing this meal when my first day rolls around.  This year, I'm dreaming of cheese stuffed meatballs, mmmm.

2. Football Sundays.  I like to root for the underdogs and here in New York that's the Jets. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!  No offense to my boys in green, (especially you, Nick Mangold, you Viking god!) but they have been known to let me down every once in awhile.  You know what doesn't let me down, though? Football food.  Bleu cheese dip, chili with cornbread, beer braised sausages, and the ultimate buffalo wings.  Based on the incredibly classic wings from Chuck's Spring Street Cafe in Princeton, I believe I have perfected the art of crispy and spicy morsels of meaty goodness to serve up with cold dressing and celery sticks.  Mmmm I can't wait.

3. As the temperature drops, I start to pile on the layers in a fashion I like to refer to as "librarian chic."  This includes lots of cardigans, collared blouses, vintage dresses, knee socks, tights, and my personal favorite, sweater vests!  I am in love with fall fashion because it's oh so flattering on pretty much everyone and it fits very well into my lifestyle and with my career choice.  And how beautiful are fall colors?  Maroon, burnt orange, aubergine, hunter green, heather, mustard... like a forest only softer because it usually comes in cashmere instead of crunchy leaves.  Trying to incorporate crutches and my giant black space boot into my fall fashions is going to be a challenge, but my bedazzler is at the ready just in case!

4. Spices.  Autumn colors aren't limited to fashion.  Those spicy oranges, reds and brown exist in cooking as well and boy oh boy do I love the taste of autumn.  Spicy red chicken paprikash with smoky paprika from Spain and a spicy red paprika from Hungary.  The dark oranges of pureed pumpkins and squashes.  Sweetly spicy cinnamons, nutmegs and gingers in can't resist baked goods like these molasses spice cookies.  The almost black brown of dark chocolates (although for me, that's kind of a year round color!)  The deep yellows of curries and mustards.  And of course the spicy reds and oranges of all of those football Sunday hot sauces!  That lazy susan in my spice cupboard better shape up because she's gonna be spinning soon.

5. Number five is for the 5th of October, also known as my birthday.  Though I'm not particularly fond of my birthday, I am a fan of birthday confections.  I also love that on my birthday, I get to eat whatever I want and don't have to make anyone happy except for me!  A lot has happened since my last birthday and I'm very eager for this new year to begin.  Unfortunately, I kind of skipped a year and thought that this past year, when I was 27, I was actually 28.  So to make up for that missing year, I'm going to make sure the real 28 is worthy of two years of my life.  Trust me, it will be awesome.  And even if I'm unable to get myself mobile and motivated enough to bake an extraordinary birthday cake, there will be some amazeballs confection to put candles on top of... you can be sure of that!

how about this 28 layers of color cake that darius of Serious Eats got for his birthday?

6. I love candy, I love spooky things, and I love dressing up so naturally, Halloween is my absolute fave holiday ever.  Since I don't get too many trick or treaters (I've only got two kids that live in my building) and my students are already overloaded with sugar by the time they swing into the library, I don't really get to buy the big bags of candy and spoil anyone.  But this year, since my going out options will be pretty limited, I think I might have to make some super spooky sweets to share with some of my pals.  I've kinda been itching to bust out that candy thermometer again and what better time of year than now?  But before I decide what tasty treats to concoct for All Hallow's Eve, I need to figure out what I'll be dressed up as.  Considering the crutches and one-leggedness, the only costumes I could think of are Pollyanna (but she's blonde,) Tiny Tim (but I'll save that for Christmas in case I'm still gimpy,) and a flamingo.  Help me out dearies!  I need some costume ideas that incorporate my metal crutches!!!

7. Apples apples and more apples.  I probably won't make it to the orchard for apple picking this year, but I'm quite certain I'll make it to the green market in Union Square which may as well be an orchard with the countless varieties of apples that get brought in each year.  Like the old adage recommends, I eat an apple nearly every day.  I love walking through the market and grabbing one as a to-go lunch.  I have a particular fondness for the crispy, juicy varieties but try not to discriminate.  This year, to celebrate my fondness of the sweet and savory along with my love of bacon, I plan on preparing an apple pie with at least four types of apples and a pie crust made with pork fat!  How amazing does that sound??  I'm really excited about developing that recipe but at the same time, I'm a little nervous.  Why?  Because believe it or not, I've never ever baked a pie from scratch.  I know - shocker of the century!  I plan on perfecting a pie by the time I'm 30, so I'd better get started.  But apples aren't just reserved for pie.  I plan on preparing some cider donuts, tarts, ice cream (I think I forgot to mention that I got a hand-me-down ice cream maker!!!,) stuffed pork chops, chutney, the possibilities are endless.  By the end of the season I might even be able to write my own Apple Lover's Cookbook... but in case I don't, y'all could buy me this one for my birthday. hint hint

8. The big, beautiful, orange orbs of harvest moons.  Some years there are a few of them and most years, you get a prequel and sequel of the actual Harvest moon because it seems to go on a few days before and after the actual date.  This year's Harvest moon happened to fall on September 12 and was truly magical and quite impressive.  Unfortunately, I was still laid up in the hospital seeing stars (I was pretty doped up on morphine.)  No matter though, because I'll always have Neil Young.

9. How about some super suppers served in bowls.  When you open up my kitchen cabinet, there is a small stack of plates and about 70 bowls of various shapes and sizes.  You may wonder why one gal would have so many bowls.  The answer is simple - I love all foods that are served in bowls.  But more than any other spooned food, I particularly enjoy the kinds of meals that cook for hours on top of the stove or in the oven.  Hours and hours and hours.  Soups and stews are among my favorite meals.  I get such a kick out of rummaging around through the fridge, cabinets and pantry to dig up ingredients for some creative new concoction that I can ladle into a bowl and sop up with a chunk of hearty, homemade bread.  Last year I worked on beef & beer stew, buffalo chicken and corn chowder, hearty seafood soup, and a curried lamb & lentil stew.  I wonder what my brain has in store for my belly this year!

10. Thanksgiving feasts.  All of my favorite homey goodness and comfort food on the table at once?  Yes, please!  I know it's a bit early, but I've already started preparing my Thanksgiving menu.  I like to stick to the traditional foods with only a few tweaks like pork belly in the brussel sprouts or cooking cornish hens instead of a huge turkey.  I'm pretty confident that I've got the side dishes down pat and the main course is quite obvious (well, we know it will be some form of poultry,) so this year I'm focusing on the desserts.  And this year, I'm think pumpkin spice whoopie pies!  Oh. Yeah.

So stay tuned, gang!  Let's fatten up together in preparation for the cold weather.  

27 September 2011

revuesday - St. Anselm

Though having a broken leg kind of sucks because it hurts a whole lot, I can't walk on it, people still don't give me seats on the subway (though folks on the bus are awfully friendly,) and I'm going to start setting off metal detectors, there are a few perks to being broken.  One of those perks is that I've been getting extra special treatment from my friends and family.  Not only have they been following me around to make sure I don't fall and break any more bones, they've also been fattening me up by taking me out to fancy, delicious suppers and making sure I get a bowl of ice cream before I go to bed every night.  My most recent restaurant field trip was taken with my mom and dad this past Saturday to Williamsburg's own St. Anselm.

Relatively new to the neighborhood, this restaurant exists on a stretch of Metropolitan Avenue that seems to get progressively cooler with each opening.  St. Anselm seems to be the neighborhood's quirky version of a steak house - traditional with a twist.  I'm not a huge steak eater but that by no means makes me any less of a carnivore.  Though beef may not be my thing (unless it's ground into a patty and slathered in cheese,) I love steaks of other sorts!  And though I'm afraid to partake in any booziness whilst on crutches, I also love a good bourbon or whiskey.  So I naturally selected the bourbon brined pork chop off of the menu.  The flavor was incredible and for such a large and thick cut of meat, was deliciously juicy and tender... so much so that I sucked all the meat off the bone.  Yup, I did that.

bourbon brined pork chop
The daddy-o indulged in an appetizer of grilled foie gras with figs, a smokey sweetness that melted in your mouth.  Though difficult to top that tiny morsel of yumminess, it was done with his lamb shoulder chop topped with mint butter.  Usually a tough cut of meat, this was cooked to perfection and didn't require any kind of overzealous chewing.  After an appetizer of iceberg wedge topped with warm bacon and bleu cheese dressing, Mom raved about the butcher's steak, a hanger steak with chopped garlic and butter.  Medium rare juices dripped out and were sopped up with perfect warm, crusty bread.

butcher's steak

Like a typical steak house, the meat came as is and sides had to be ordered separately.  Crispy smashed potatoes with truffle oil and anything but boring creamed spinach rounded out our meal.  I wish I could comment on the beer and wine selection but, like I previously mentioned, booze and crutches kinda scare me right now so I didn't partake in any of that.  But mom and dad seemed to enjoy the selection and since I've definitely thrown a few back at Spuyten Duyvil and Fette Sau (both run by the same awesome dude that is in charge of St. Anselm,) I can presume that everything was up to par and quite satisfying.

So yeah, the food was out of control delicious and satisfying and I recommend this spot to all of my meat lovin' friends.  Plus the atmosphere is great, like a rustic woodsy lodge where sexy lumberjacks might hang out.  And the open kitchen permits diners to watch their meals being prepared which is a neat concept that I always appreciate.  Also appreciated is the list of farms supplying the restaurant, both local and distant.  I love the whole farm-to-table concept and really hope that it continues because it promotes knowledgeable eating habits and community cuisine.  Next time you're in the hood, and in the mood for some meaty goodness, pop in to St. Anselm and hopefully you'll get a table and a great meal... well, you'll definitely get a great meal, but don't be surprised if you have to wait a bit for a table as this is quite the hot spot!

*I totally forgot my camera when we went out so these photos are courtesy of St. Anselm's facebook page... Like them!

21 September 2011

revuesday - 25 Burgers

I'm quite certain that my family is trying to fatten me up while I'm crashing here in New Jersey.  Even though they know I can't exercise, they insist on stuffing me with all kinds of gluttonous snacks and home-cooked goodness.  Just yesterday I got a call from my soon-to-be brother-in-law, Danny.  He happened to have the day off and (correctly) figured that I was bored and in need of a field trip so he offered to take me out to lunch.  Now, I've known Danny for a pretty long time now, so I knew it was safe to assume that we wouldn't be heading anywhere too exotic or out there but I also knew that I should prepare myself for a hefty meal because holy cow can that boy eat!  So when he asked what I was in the mood for, I decided on a burger knowing that he probably had an excellent spot in mind to grab a big and greasy slab of beef, which is exactly what I've been craving for about a week now.

He picked me up and off we went towards Bound Brook, NJ so that I could be introduced to the "best burgers ever" at 25 Burgers.  When we pulled up to the red roofed burger shack, I thought to myself 'I can do this.  I'll get the same burger with cheddar and mushrooms that I always order everywhere else and it will be delicious and my craving will be satiated.'  Boy, was I wrong.

I walked in and was punched in the face by the smell of awesomely greasy grilled beef and the sizzling fried goodness of potatoes and onions.  Hobbling up to the counter, I was dumbstruck by the 25 burger choices that I was faced with.  The menu boasted everything from your basic cheeseburger to a meat lover's burger topped with pepperoni.  How was my concussed mind supposed to choose?!  After about ten minutes of stammering indecisiveness, I picked the #2 Bullseye BBQ Burger - an Angus beef patty topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onion straws, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a fresh onion and poppy seed bun.  It didn't stop there though.  It was totally necessary that I add a side of onion rings with dipping sauce.  Apparently, Danny always orders the exact same thing when he goes to 25 Burgers (which I think is way more often than he'd care to admit.)  Alongside my #2 with rings was his side of Boardwalk fries and a #5 Trenton burger topped with pork roll and American cheese.  Tall glasses of root beer and Dr. Pepper rounded out our insanely fattening and wonderful meal.  We were both pretty pleased, maybe Danny more so than me because he got to brag about introducing me to Jersey's finest burger joint.  Somehow between the two of us we managed to devour nearly the entire tray of food.  I almost felt like I needed to get back into a wheelchair in order to get out of the restaurant because I was afraid that my crutches wouldn't be able to hold me up!

As we walked/crutched back to the car and snapped a picture of the perfectly simple signage out front, I noticed a Burger King across the street.  I'm not sure what corporate genius thought that was a good idea, but they were mistaken.  Burger King has lost it's crown to Jersey's own 25 Burgers.  Thanks Danny, for introducing me to the greasy goodness and local flavor of this awesome joint!  And for a much needed field trip and for the awesome super hero movies that you let me borrow!

20 September 2011

broken baking

Though I may rag on my parents about the lack of excitement NJ has to offer (compared to BK that is,) I actually have a lot of pride in my home state and kind of really like it.  My mom and dad are always trying to get me to come and spend some time with them and even though this probably isn't exactly the kind of visit they had in mind, they've been helping me make the most of it by filling up my days with all the awesomeness the jerz has to offer.  After making breakfast with Aunt Patty on Friday morning, I was treated to some tasty Pierre's pastries from my oldest friend, Brian.  Later that evening, I headed to my old high school with the dad and my other half, Lady Baty, to watch the homecoming football game... honestly though, I just wanted to see the marching band.  They're doing Radiohead this year!!!  Really, Ginny?  They're my favorite band ever in the history of the world!  I would have rocked the heck out of Thom Yorke inspired flag feature ten years ago.

Saturday meant a tour of the grocery store and a trip to the movies to see Our Idiot Brother which was super funny.  Sunday was for a lazy breakfast, a haircut and a trip to the new Trader Joe's in town.  My mom warned me that Trader Joe's might be really crowded so I should stay close to the cart in case someone knocked me off my crutches.  She obviously hasn't been to the Union Square location recently.  After a quick checkup with a kooky, local doctor, my dad and I went out for a sushi lunch at the new spot around the corner from their house.  Being that I never thought of my dad as the most adventurous eater, I was pretty surprised that he let me order all the food and didn't shy away from anything that was served; not even the eel!  Next dad date, I'm taking him out for Indian food.

But as the afternoon turned into evening, I started to get a little bored.  Let's face it, just because cable boasts 300 channels, doesn't mean that there will be anything worth watching on any of them.  So I slowly hobbled around, rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, fridge and pantry and determined that I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a simple and delicious butter cookie.  Upon further investigation, I discovered a vast collection of jams and preserves that nearly rivals my own stock.  So my thoughts immediately went from basic butter cookies to dainty tea cookies!  Made entirely from scratch and almost completely on my own, I'd say that these scrumptious sweets were a complete success.  And they gave the entire house that amazing baked butter smell which, in turn, makes the cookies irresistible.

thumbprint cookies
3 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
your favorite jam
1. In your mixer or with a hand mixer (yeah, my mom doesn't bake much so the house lacks a KitchenAid, bummer) cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until it's light and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt.  Combine the flour mix with the butter and sugar until completely blended.
3. Wrap the dough and chill for at least 30 minutes.  While the dough is still chilly, pull pieces off and roll into little balls, about the size of golf balls.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2" apart.  Using your thumb, press down the center of the cookies to create a little dent.  In that dent, drop in about 1/4 tsp of your favorite jam.  Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until they start to look golden brown.  Cool before serving.  Seriously, make sure they've cooled because that fruit filling can get hot hot hot!

They didn't come out entirely perfect, but for a crippled cook, I'd say they were a pretty amazeballs feat.  Filled with orange marmalade, black cherry preserves, and strawberry jam, the thumbprint cookies were out of this world.  I almost couldn't wait to taste one and nearly burned my tongue on the bubbling preserves... another injury is the last thing I need.  It felt really wonderful to be back in the kitchen, back in my element.  Knowing that I'm able to accomplish a few of my favorite things (bake, do dishes, go to the grocery store) makes me feel like I'm really on the road to recovery.  And that makes me feel awesome!

the cook on crutches.

19 September 2011

special guest post from victoria!

In just a few days my boyfriend Joey and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary.  When I think back to when we first started dating, it's a joy to remember the newness and excitement and sweet and fun times we shared, but there's one thing that went terribly wrong.  It was the Nutella Flourless Chocolate Cake.

During the beginning stages of getting to know one another, I was very eager to show Joey what an excellent (and sexy! and fun!) baker I am, so I offered to bake him a cake with nutella, a food we had exalted as heavenly.  Being the gentleman that he is, Joey offered to buy all the ingredients and help me in the kitchen, and although I usually work best alone, I decided to take him up on this offer so that we could spend more time together.  He scoured all of Brooklyn searching for hazelnuts but managed to bring all of the necessary goods, and I got to serious work on the cake.  In the end, the distraction of my crush proved greater than my baking abilities, because I thoughtlessly doubled the butter and completely ruined the cake.  I've since wondered a bit about what I was missing, and so I decided to try the same recipe once again.

Yeah, this cake requires a WHOLE JAR of Nutella. Oh. Yes.
nutella chocolate cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 13oz contaiter of Nutella
1 tbs water
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts*
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp espresso
4oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  (I somehow don't have a springform but with the help of parchment and baking Pam, I was able to remove and flip the cake easily after it had cooled for a few minutes).
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the water, egg yolks, cinnamon, espresso powder, and ground hazelnuts one at a time until mixed. Fold in melted chocolate.  
2. In another large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. 
3. Introduce a large tablespoon of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly.
4. Pour into the pan  and bake for 35-40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. (My cake was done in 35 minutes). Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.  
*If your hazelnuts still have their skins, I recommend the Julia Child method of removal over the previous year's roasting/dishtowel method: Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups boiling water. Add the nuts and boil for about 3 minutes. Slip a test nut into a bowl of ice water. If the skin doesn’t come off easily, boil the nuts a little longer. When a test skin rubs right off, add the rest of the nuts to the ice water and peel with incredible ease. Dry the nuts or let them dry on their own and toast them in the oven.

Since I now know Joey is not the biggest fan of rich dessert toppings, rather than Nigella's ganache, I opted for whipping a small carton of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla.  I then sprinkled ground hazelnuts on the whipped cream topping.  

Truth be told, I did not discover that I had ruined my cake last year until the following day, because we actually didn't even cut a slice that night.  While waiting for the cake to cool, we started watching a move and ended up making out until we realized how late it was and said our goodbyes.  This year, Joey worked intently in his office next to the kitchen until the moment the cake was done, and eagerly grabbed the first slice.  If we leave out the sudden tears and frustration and mound of dishes that come every time I'm in the kitchen, I'd say this time it turned out pretty good.  And that's just perfect.

P.S. Be sure to keep up with Victoria's awesome baking adventures, fashion tips, metal love and anything else she happens to have on her mind by following her on tumblr at A sun that never sets burns on.  Thanks again, girl & a very happy anniversary to you both!

16 September 2011

i'm back!!!

I woke up this morning and realized that I was no longer limited to eating from the yucky plastic tray placed in front of me at the hospital!  No more crummy, cold bagels (a sin in NYC.  For heaven's sake, it's  New York!)  No more juice from concentrate, no plastic-wrapped slices of bread, so long gross muffins.  With minimal help from Aunt Patty (she chopped the onion and pulled out all the supplies for me,) I was able to prep a scrumptious welcome back breakfast.  Look what I made - 

Cheesy onion eggs, corned beef hash and a toasted English muffin!  Super simple but a huge step up from my breakfasts of late and a major feat since I whisked, stirred, buttered and served all on one leg.  Baby steps back to the kitchen.  Thanks for sending your good vibes and thank to Aunt Patty for being an amazing sous chef! 

15 September 2011

free bird

After spending the past twelve nights in uncomfortable beds at Bellevue, barely able to move, suffering noisy neighbors and nearly starving to death for lack of flavor in the food, I was released today!  Hooray!  Unfortunately, my leg and ankle are still broken leaving me with no other option than to hobble around on crutches.  This misfortune will provide me with very limited cooking abilities and possibly fewer kitchen adventures to blog about.  Fret not dear readers!  I will continue to provide you with yummy and delish reading material from the likes of my super amazing food loving friends, so stay tuned and show them some love!

In the meantime, I'll be hanging out in the jerz for a few days to get back on my feet (foot?) with the help of Ma and Pa at the olde homestead, 23.  With my leg elevated and the sick bell by my side, I'll be able to enjoy cable tv and savory homestyle cooking.  Maybe I'll even get Lizzie B to cohost a post with me and the kid sis!  Perhaps me and my daddy-o will head out for a beer and a burger at one of the local So Bruns watering holes that needs reviewing.  You never know what you might find at delirious kitchen... though you can be sure that I'll be getting the royal treatment while laid up here and I plan on sharing it with you.

After leaving the hospital and swinging by the Sweet Spot to grab a few necessities, we made a pit stop at Fette Sau.  It's insane how just a few days of poor quality, under-seasoned food can change your palette.  The smokey, spicy, fall-off-the-bone meats, the chunky hot baked beans, mustardy potato salad and warm, doughy rolls were out of control!  Seriously, it was like a carnival of flavors in my mouth and definitely worth the wait... maybe not worth broken bones, but worth an awful lot, that's for sure!

Though it may have taken a catastrophic injury for me to spend a little vaca time here with the folks, I plan on making the most of it.  Lots of family, loads of food, cable time, healing time, and rest.  Wish me well and stick around to enjoy what is sure to be a diverse and exciting few weeks here in the kitchen! xo

14 September 2011

the last supper!

Today marks the last night of my (not so) lovely stay at Bellevue Hospital! I'll be heading back to Jersey tomorrow to spend a few days with my parents before heading home for good.

For my last supper, I had the pleasure of dining on some tasty treats thanks to some great gals, Sam Paul and Melissa Birdy. Thanks ladies!

And thanks to everyone for the visits, the multiple copies of Vogue, the "get well" gifts, and all of your well wishes. All your love is the real medicine :)

07 September 2011

guest post from the kid sister :)

While Jilly is laid up in Bellevue dining on Jello and what we think may be Salisbury steak, I thought I could fill-in for a post. Unfortunately, tonight's dinner came from a bag (it's soccer season, what can I say?), so it was not quite the inspirational meal my sister tends to present.

So, as today marks the ten-month mark until my wedding (eek!), I thought I'd share with you our wedding menu which was recently finalized. On July 7, 2012, my fiance and I will be getting married at the Lake Valhalla Club. When I envisioned my dream wedding, I always had the casual feel in mind and actually tossed around the idea of a pig roast. See, the real motivator for this menu style is my fiance's taste in food, which is about as refined as a seven-year-old.
The main dining room at LVC.

We went for a tasting a LVC with my parents and instantly fell in love with the food and cocktail selection. On top of all the deliciousness, the amount of food is actually quite outrageous. Our guests will enjoy an hour-and-a-half cocktail hour with 8 different passed appetizers, 4 carving stations, 2 live stations, five cold displays, and 6 hot chafing dishes.

For dinner, guests will enjoy a Caesar salad with pesto croutons (the only salad Danny eats), and one of four entries: Roast Tenderloin of beef served with bordelaise sauce; Chicken Valhalla stuffed with spinach, prosciutto ham and boursin cheese; Crabmeat stuffed lemon sole with champagne sauce; or Wild mushroom risotto cake with roasted vegetables and smoked tomato vinaigrette. Super psyched!

As for dessert, we're skipping the traditional cake and going with the almost-becoming-traditional cupcakes in various flavors. There's also a ridiculous amount of desserts that are offered at the Viennese table. We're still trying to work these out and would love some recommendations. Check out their menu and let us know what you would pick: Lake Valhalla Club Menu.

04 September 2011

shaken up, rattled, and no more rolling on my bicycle

After a bit of a disastrous run-in on Bushwick the other night, I find myself laid up at Bellevue Hospital with broken bones and stitches. Did you know that post-surgery they don't let you eat? So you can imagine that by the time my visitors rolled around today, I found myself longing for real food.

Thanks to my awesome kid sister (who is sort of writing this due to my drug induced state), I was able to turn down my gray roast beef, scalloped potatoes, and vegetable medley. After standing in line amongst some Russian tourists, she brought back a delicious meal from Shake Shack. We dined on ShackBurgers, a medium grilled burger topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and something called "shack sauce," and a side of crispy crinkled fries topped with a blend of American and cheddar cheese. For dessert, we shared a peanut butter milkshake (they refused to mix chocolate and peanut butter!) and a Concrete, another Shack specialty, made of vanilla custard and chocolate truffle cookie dough.

So for now, my red jello still sits untouched, and the mystery of what flavor red actually is will have to be saved for another day.

And, of course, a major thanks to my family for rushing to the city, my aunts for bringing me Reese's Pieces, and of course my gals, Isabelle and Vanessa, for keeping me alive to enjoy the Shack. xxoo.

- Posted using BlogPress from my (sister's) iPhone

02 September 2011

special guest post from kate, baking and crossword puzzle partner in crime

Baked Mac ‘n Cheese
Or . . . the remedy for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!

So, today (Tuesday) pretty much sucked a big one.  Normally I feel like Monday or Wednesday is the “bad” day of the week, but this week Tuesday decided to surprise me.  I won’t go into details, except to say that I got no sleep last night, had an awful morning at work, went to class, had to leave class early to go back to work because remote access decided not to work, and then had prescription insurance issues (which should have been resolved a month ago) to boot.  Anyway, all I wanted was gooey mac ‘n cheese.  I don’t have celiac disease - thank God - but wheat definitely does a number on my tummy if I have too much of it, so I do try to eat rice or quinoa pasta and the like.  Today?  Didn’t care one bit about that!  After finally making it somewhat back home I stopped at the grocery store, picked up some stuff, and walked the rest of the way home to start making yummy baked mac ‘n cheese, something I’ve never made before.  We also have fillet mignons wrapped in bacon (an Omaha Steaks present for when we moved into our house) that I learned to cook on the grill - also a feat, since I’ve never grilled before!  Oh, oh, oh - another note . . .we live in a duplex and the neighbors we share a wall with aren’t the most upstanding citizens; well, some of them aren’t, there are like a million people living in that house - do NOT even want to know what the bathroom situation is like in the morning.  Anyway, I digress...  so, while baking this Mac I had the pleasure of watching an “undercover” cop walk “his” dog down the street while stopping for verrryyyy long pauses in front of the house next door.  Oh dear!

Post-Meal Notes
  • O-M-G → go throw a party or something and require every single person attending to bring the Omaha Steaks Fillets wrapped in bacon.  Seriously, while the mac was delish, those fillets wrapped in bacon MADE MY DAY!
  • I would work to make the Mac more rich next time - maybe add more cheese, or maybe use parmigiana or Prima Donna Gouda (soooo yummy).  The husb even suggested adding a bit of the velveeta that I love and mixing that in.  Just some thoughts for y'all
  • I like the crunchy of the smashed chips on top, but next time would probably just use the extra cheese and maybe breadcrumbs . . . or smash the chips more!
  • Recipes, as they were actually made tonight, are below

mac 'n cheese
3 cups pasta (uncooked) - I used fun shapes like shells and penne because, secretly, velveeta shells are my fave.  Ok, maybe not so secretly
3.5 - 4 cups shredded cheese.  I was lazy, because it was a bad day, and used the pre-shredded stuff from the store, but you could definitely just buy a hunk o’ cheese and shred it yourself.  I used “fancy sharp cheddar” - aka a mix of 3 different kinds of cheddar
salt and pepper - maybe about 1 tsp each?
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup of milk, plus an extra splash or two
2 tsp red pepper flakes - you can leave these out if you don’t want the heat

1. Make your pasta!  While that pasta is going, pre-heat the oven to 350 and start to melt the butter in a sauce pan on the stove
2. Add the flour to the butter and mix to make a nice roux.  Add half of the milk and stir, throwing in about 1 C cheese
3. STIR - like you mean it!
4. Add the other half of milk, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.  Add the rest of the cheese.  Add an extra splash (or two) of milk if you need it
5. Again - STIR like you mean it . . . it’ll take some time, but be patient (I know, I know, really hard after a horrible day.  Maybe some wine or beer will help with that.  I think it probably will - at least it did for me)
6. Butter/Cooking Spray/whatever a baking dish.  I used a round Corningware, but an 8x8 baking dish (like the kind for brownies) would probably be just fine
7. Add the pasta and cheese and mix it all up.  I topped it with extra cheese and some smashed up (ya know, to get out that anger and frustration from the day) blue tortilla chips
8. Into the oven for about 30 minutes

1. Umm - the husb started the grill (I watched and now know how - woohoo!)
2. Salt the fillets, plop on grill salt side down and salt the side that’s now facing up
3. Cook for a few minutes on each side.  
  • Do you know the hand trick to tell when your steaks are to the temperature you want?  It’s pretty awesome! Medium-rare was the name of the game tonight (hold your non-dominant hand out, palm facing you, and lower your pointer finger towards your palm - the feel of the “squishy” part of your palm near your thumb is what medium-rare feels like.  want medium? lower your middle finger down.  crazy and like your steaks well-done (umm, who ARE you?!) lower your pinky down - make sense?)
4. Take off grill and top with butter
5. Let sit for a few minutes (5ish?) before cutting
6. Wear bug-spray!  I add this only because in the 10 minutes we were outside I got 3 bug bites on my right foot and 2 on my left - what the heck mosquitos?!?!