February 9, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Today I’m going to ask you to use your imagination. Have a glass of wine, close your eyes, turn on some Simon and Garfunkel, and imagine you’re entertaining your nearest and dearest. Imagine you’re tasked with cooking a fabulous dinner for your terribly handsome beau on his 50th birthday. And imagine that last minute rush before dinner is served—the rush to get dinner on the table and make sure that hot food stays hot and salad stays fresh.
Can you imagine that? Good. Now imagine that the beautiful ingredients below came together in a perfectly composed salad that I didn’t have a chance to photograph on that lovely night before serving it!
Sorry, folks. By the time dinner was served, the sun had gone down and I couldn’t justify whipping out my lighting set-up to photograph the finished salad. So just imagine a bed of velvety greens tossed in sweet and sour pear vinaigrette, topped with creamy, pungent Cambozola, toasted walnuts, crispy apples, and my mad scientist experiment, hibiscus pearls. Imagine that!
A word about those hibiscus pearls: this was my first foray into molecular gastronomy. It was a success, and much simpler than I imagined. I steeped a cup of hibiscus tea and spiked it with hibiscus extract from l.c. finn. I boiled that with agar agar, and used a regular eyedropper to squeeze the mixture into a tall glass of cold oil to form the pearls. That’s the extent of the special ingredients and equipment. The flavor of the pearls was distinct but not overwhelming; a little tart, like pomegranate juice. The texture was smooth and gelatinous—sort of like biting into a creamy drop of tea. For instructions on making agar agar pearls, visit http://molecule-r.com/en/content/67-pearls-training. You can purchase the extract here.
Continue reading for the recipe for Mixed Greens with Cambozola, Hibiscus Pearls, and Pear Vinaigrette
Category Apple, Family and Friends, Fruit, Greens, Handsome Greg, No Cheese Left Behind, Nuts, Onion, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: apple,fruit,greens,handsome greg,no cheese left behind,nuts,onion,salad,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 2 Comments
February 2, 2014 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
My incredibly generous manfriend, Handsome Greg, treated me and Mom to an epic shopping spree at Kitchen Window for Christmas. My loot included 3/4 of the ingredients of a complex, delicious bread dipping oil: a fruity extra virgin olive oil, pink peppercorns, and smoked sea salt. I added a few leaves of fresh thyme, and served it for Greg’s birthday dinner.
The surprisingly fruity bite of the peppercorns was carried gently down to earth by the tender thyme leaves and robust, earthy smoked sea salt flakes. We sopped up the oil with chewy, warm ciabatta bread, alongside Greg’s favorite pepperoni-stuffed chicken breasts, angel hair pasta scampi, a killer salad with cambozola and hibiscus pearls, and classic molten chocolate cakes.
Category Appetizer, Bread, Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,bread,handsome greg,my mom rules,sauce,side dish,vegetarian | 5 Comments
April 14, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Well, this is awkward. I suppose it’s a little late to give a heads up that posting will be sparse until my show opens in August…? Also, the dog ate my homework, and the check is in the mail.
I’m sure you will forgive me for failing to post a new recipe for (gasp!) an entire month, when you try this righteous salad. It’s bright and fresh, yet satisfying, with a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sour. It’s so delicious that with one bite, you’ll forget entirely what a lazy slacker I am. The recipe is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Do you have this book? You need this book.
The day I prepared this salad is pretty much a blur—I was so rushed making dinner for Mom and Handsome Greg that I barely had a chance to take photos of the meal. So I’m sorry to say that my sad pics don’t begin to do this recipe justice. Just another reason to pick up The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook; the photos are so beautiful you’ll have to resist the urge to devour the actual pages. The only change I made from the original recipe was to omit the tablespoon of fresh, minced ginger, because, as I mentioned before, I’m deathly allergic. If ginger doesn’t send you to the ER, then I suppose you ought to add it to the dressing as Deb suggests. She knows what she’s talking about.
Continue reading for the Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Miso Dressing recipe
Category Appetizer, Beans, Cabbage, Family and Friends, Garlic, Handsome Greg, My Mom Rules, Onion, Peas, Radish, Salad, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,beans,cabbage,garlic,handsome greg,my mom rules,onion,peas,radish,salad,sauce,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 14 Comments
January 20, 2013 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Every once in a long while, when my hair is lacking in shine and my fingernails are especially raggedy and I’m feeling a little insecure, I can’t help but wonder if my sharing recipes here at Galley Kitchen is little more than a desperate plea for the validation of strangers. I mean, why else would I bother with stats on page hits and click-thrus?
And why, other than the steaming pot of self-doubt simmering on the stove, would I feel the need to bring up my recipe for pepperoni-stuffed chicken breasts, my most popular recipe of 2012? Sure, I served today’s simple pasta scampi alongside the “famous” chicken parmesan variation for Handsome Greg’s birthday dinner, but that’s a pretty slim excuse to draw a big, fat arrow pointing to my number one recipe.
I hope you’ll forgive my blatant exploitation of the chicken, and take a look at the simple dish I served with it. The tender pasta is coated in butter with a little acidity from white wine, a lot of freshness from Italian parsley, and a punch of heat from red pepper flakes.
And ultimately, it doesn’t matter that this simple pasta is wearing a modest house dress. It’s going to the homecoming dance with the most popular poultry in school.
Continue reading for the Pasta Scampi recipe.
Category Family and Friends, Garlic, Handsome Greg, Pasta, Recessipes, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: garlic,handsome greg,pasta,recessipes,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 8 Comments
September 4, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
This is the perfect side dish for summer picnics and barbec—what? It’s past Labor Day? And I missed Barbecue Season™?
I’m a day late, but I just can’t keep this recipe to myself until Memorial Day 2013, when picnics are once again permissible. Also? I’m wearing white pants. Yeah, I’m a rebel.
When I first served this recipe at a work potluck, my adorable friend Karl told me that my baked beans were the best baked beans he’d had. I was more than a little concerned that of all my recipes, the one that earned the greatest compliment was made of store-bought, canned baked beans and all the condiments in the door of my refrigerator. Fortunately I got over it.
Continue reading for the Dressed Up Baked Beans recipe
Category Beans, Onion, Pork, Recessipes, Side Dish, Vegetable | Tags: beans,onion,pork,recessipes,side dish,vegetable | 5 Comments
August 10, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
INT. BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY and HANDSOME GREG sit cross-legged on a red checkered table cloth on the living room floor, sharing potato chips and onion dip. The phone rings. SUZY answers the phone.
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY
Hello? Oh, hi.
Who’s on the phone?
BAKE UP, LITTLE SUZY
It’s the sixties. They want their onion dip made from Lipton soup mix and sour cream back.
Continue reading for the Caramelized Onion Dip recipe
Category Appetizer, Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, No Cheese Left Behind, Onion, Recessipes, Side Dish, Spread, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,handsome greg,no cheese left behind,onion,recessipes,side dish,spread,vegetable,vegetarian | 13 Comments
June 13, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Last night I dreamed about a barbecue. I dreamed of hungry friends lining up alongside a red gingham-swathed picnic table filled with alfresco favorites as far as the eye could see. Bowl after CorningWare bowl of potato salad, deviled eggs, fresh watermelon, baked beans, pasta salad, coleslaw, mac and cheese…and nary a saucy rib nor chicken breast in sight.
Even in my dreams, I don’t know how to grill meat. I don’t have the tools and I don’t have the experience. Gas or charcoal? Direct or indirect heat? Lid up or lid down? The only thing I know how to grill is a cheese sandwich. One day I’ll conquer my fear and learn to grill meat, but in the meantime, I’m sharing summer side dishes, starting with my favorite garlic and herb corn.
This simple side (it comes together in minutes) is packed with flavor—it’s sweet, buttery, herbaceous, and garlicky. This is loud corn. This is corn on the mob.
Continue reading for the Garlic and Herb Corn recipe
Category Corn, Garlic, Recessipes, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: corn,garlic,recessipes,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 7 Comments
March 19, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Big news, imaginary internet people: I’m having the best week ever!
After eight long months of unemployment, as of this morning I have a job.
I’m the newest member of the marketing team at Free Spirit Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Everyone I’ve met there over the course of the three (count ‘em, three!) interviews feels like a friend already, and they (we!) do really important work – publishing books on positive youth development and resources for kids and teens.
I start in two weeks, so I guess I’d better get used to waking up before Days of Our Lives.
And there’s another reason I’m on cloud nine these days. I made an Argentinian-inspired dinner for Mom and Handsome Greg on Saturday night, and the corn empanadas with orange-infused honey were – gosh, can I even say it? – the best thing I’ve ever made.
I don’t like to play favorites, and that’s a really big thing to say, but these empanadas with their sweet, sticky sauce deserve the accolades.
The combination of flavors and textures – sweet, succulent corn, biting peppers and onions, salty bacon, gooey cheese, bright cilantro, crispy fried dough, and floral, citrusy honey – absolutely warrants my blatant abuse of tired adjectives.
There was much more orange honey than needed for the 12 empanadas, and it’s been a treat finding other things (besides a spoon) off of which to lick it. For starters, Mom’s popovers:
Continue reading for the recipe for Corn and Bacon Empanadas with Orange-Infused Honey Drizzle
Category Appetizer, Corn, Dumplings, Family and Friends, Fruit, Handsome Greg, Jalapeno, My Mom Rules, No Cheese Left Behind, Onion, Orange, Pork, Recessipes, Sauce, Side Dish, Vegetable | Tags: appetizer,corn,dumplings,fruit,handsome greg,jalapeno,my mom rules,no cheese left behind,onion,orange,pork,recessipes,sauce,side dish,vegetable | 31 Comments
March 11, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Have you seen that Food Network show Barefoot Contessa, hosted by Ina Garten? Ina, an incredibly wealthy, preppy East Coaster, shares recipes and tips for entertaining in a soothing Bob Ross-style voice, punctuated with rhetorical questions and her trademark nervous giggle.
How easy is that?
While I do aspire to emulate the Barefoot Contessa by living a fabulously privileged life in the East Hamptons someday, full of florist friends and elegant soirees, I’ve had a difficult time adhering to one of Ina’s basic rules of entertaining: prepare only three dishes from scratch, and buy the rest of the menu pre-made from the deli counter.
You see, I’m known among my regular dinner guests as the hostess with the mostess ambition in the kitchen. I like to pour hours into making every morsel with my own two hands. I mean, I’ve made my own ketchup. The thought of leaving half the menu in the hands of the deli counter just feels wrong to me. And yet, Ina has a point – making everything myself often means that I spend the party in the kitchen exhausted, rather than enjoying dinner with my guests.
So I took a very important step with this recipe (if you can even call it a recipe). The first time I made sweet potato chips with rosemary salt, I sliced the potatoes, fried them in oil, and tossed them in rosemary and kosher salt. They were delicious – salty-sweet, perfectly crispy, with a fresh, pungent earthiness from the rosemary. And they were a huge pain in the ass to make.
The second time I prepared this delightful snack, I bought a bag of Terra Chips, tossed them in vegetable oil, rosemary, and kosher salt, and popped them in the oven for a couple minutes. They were every bit as good as the homemade version, and a lot less work.
But I have a reputation to uphold. So, if anyone asks, I risked my fingers and knuckles slicing paper-thin sweet potato chips on a mandolin slicer. Then I braved third-degree burns from the hot oil frying the chips to a perfect crisp. And oh! Dealing with the mess afterwards – a greasy splatter-slick covering the stove top and a quart of used oil to dispose of – what an ordeal! Of course, it was totally worth it.
Did that sound sincere?
Continue reading for the Sweet Potato Chips with Rosemary Salt recipe
Category Appetizer, Potato, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: appetizer,potato,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 21 Comments
February 1, 2012 by Bake Up, Little Suzy
Last weekend I made a special dinner for Handsome Greg’s birthday. The meal began with his favorite pepperoni-stuffed chicken, and ended, sadly, with a boxed yellow cake mix and canned chocolate frosting.
I’d planned to make individual Boston cream pies, and in my birthday dinner dream, I would emerge from the kitchen looking like Donna Reed, carrying rounds of moist, airy sponge cake, layered with silky pastry cream and topped with glossy chocolate ganache.
By noon on Saturday, I had to face the fact that my Donna Reed fantasy was not to be realized that day. I was already behind schedule on the cooking and cleaning, when my very first attempt at making pastry cream ended with a gloopy bowl of disaster Play Doh. D’oh!
Dessert was ruined. I called Mom, had a bit of a temper tantrum, and asked her to drop everything and run to the store for a can of chocolate frosting to top the back-up boxed cake mix in the pantry. And because my mom rules, she humored me and my ridiculous meltdown, and she saved dessert.
I really think this time (yes, THIS TIME) I have learned my lesson about trying new recipes on special occasions. The truth is, I hate testing recipes, because I don’t want to have to make the same recipe twice. I’m always eager to try new recipes, so going back to old ones, even to make corrections, seems a terrible bore.
But I can change. And I’m starting with this recipe for spicy herbed green rice. I made it last summer for Mom and Handsome Greg to accompany a pineapple braised pork roast, and it’s so good, and so cheap, and so simple, that I promise to make it, as is, again and again!
Or maybe next time I’ll change it up and add roasted poblano peppers…
Continue reading for the Green Rice recipe
Category Family and Friends, Handsome Greg, Jalapeno, My Mom Rules, Onion, Recessipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian | Tags: handsome greg,jalapeno,my mom rules,onion,recessipes,rice,side dish,vegetable,vegetarian | 17 Comments