How much do we think we're eating? How much food is actually on our plates? When it comes to the psychology of filling your dinner plate there's more at work than just your hunger!
Pick up any carton of eggs today and you are bombarded with language meant to obfuscate the truth. Free Range one carton exclaims, while another touts Cage Free! What's the difference? Here's a handy list that will help you interpret the marketing on egg cartons across the country.
Baffled by the words on every egg carton? Want to know the difference between cage-free and free-range? Here's a translation for every egg on the market; another episode of "Ask Dan!"
Though I am a popcorn fanatic, caramel corn was not in my rotation until last year. Salty, sweet, and crunchy, this snack satisfies me in a dangerous way. I have to remove the bowl from my side after a few handfuls, otherwise I risk falling into the abyss of total consumption. And trust me, though it seems wise at the time, finishing the entire batch of caramel corn in one sitting is not pretty.
Looking for a fun experiment in the kitchen for your family this weekend? Learn how to make rock candy, an exciting exploration of geometry, crystallization, and super-saturation!
Often I am asked for restaurant suggestions around the country. While my list is hardly comprehensive, it is heartfelt and detailed. Take a peak and visit one of my favorites if you happen to be in any of these fair cities.
The pillowy grains of couscous offer ample space for the absorption of preserved lemon in all its salty glory. Ever in search of the intersection of salty/sweet/spicy/sour, I found its address in this couscous. Preserved lemon, currants, fresh chili, (and some pinenuts for texture) all crash together in the final dish, causing a riot of flavor and color. Couscous cooks in mere minutes, and with the lemons you've got on hand this dish is a snap.
Lately I've found I crave a bowl of beans doused in hot sauce somewhere around 8 or 9pm. It's not my healthiest habit, but it's not so outrageous that I'm worried about its ill effects. Of course, the upside here is that I'm making beans regularly and have a great source of protein on hand for quick meals.
A cake I've long pined for, now solidly in my arsenal of treats. It took me a while to attempt this cake (for no good reason), I hesitated to tackle its structure and chemistry. Suffice it to say, there are few things as delightful as a cake soaked in milk.
I love the interplay of sweet and spicy in this condiment. The luscious flesh of the mango pairs perfectly with the crisp body of a jalapeño. Make a giant batch of this and serve it all week with fish, on chips, in tacos. It fits your every need!
- Two Mangos, peeled and cut into small cubes
- Juice of one Lime
- 1 Jalapeño, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Chop everything, toss in a bowl, then enjoy! It gets better if you let it sit together in the fridge.
Shrubs represent one slice in the enormous tradition of preserving food around the world. Originally intended to make fruit last through the winter, the process of soaking foreign gems in vinegar and sugar had an unintended side-benefit. The sweet, fruit flavored vinegar was perfect for mixing into cocktails and seltzer water! Try this one with rum, lime, and a splash of vermouth.
- 600 grams Pineapple
- 400 grams Palm Sugar
- 1/4 cup Black Peppercorns, toasted
- 2 cups White Wine Vinegar
- Mix pineapple and sugar in a large bowl and allow to macerate overnight.
- The following day, strain the liquid from the solids, you should have about 2 cups of syrup.
- Toast the peppercorns until dancing and popping in pan, then add them to your strained syrup.
- Add vinegar to the syrup, stir in a large jar, and allow to mellow in the fridge. IT will keep indefinitely.
Gefilte fish produces such strong reactions that I decided to use the far more demure French word for this sea-born dish. Quenelles are easy to make and you can use whatever fish you prefer. For this round I used salmon and a heavy dose of fresh peas. Blend in the aromatics that look fresh when you arrive at the market, no need to adhere strictly to this recipe. When serving, add a dollop of something tangy (yogurt sauce, horseradish, sour cream, tamarind paste), it will offset the luxurious fish and send fireworks through your palate.
- 1 Yellow Onion, shredded and squeezed to remove excess liquid (reserve the liquid)
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Green Peas
- Handful Parsley Leaves
- 4 Salmon Fillets
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Prepare your veggies, take care of all shredding and squeezing before working with the fish.
- Remove the skin from salmon fillets and cut the flesh into large pieces.
- Add skin and reserved onion juice to sauce pot with 4-6 cups water.
- Bring liquid to boil, then drop to simmer.
- In a food processor add all vegetables and salmon pieces. Process until smooth.
- Add egg, mustard, salt, and pepper and continue to process until smooth and shiny.
- Scoop out quenelles of the fish dough and drop them (a few at a time) into the simmering water for 5-7 minutes, until they hold together in one piece and are cooked in the center.
- Drain quenelles on rack.
- If not serving immediately, add quenelles to jars or containers and pour poaching liquid over them to cover and keep moist.
Taking cue from the effortless Hasselback Potato, I decided to fill a casserole dish with sliced red skinned potatoes and scatter their in-betweens with a confetti of leek. With a generous pour of olive oil on top the dish crisps up in your oven and transfers to the table perfectly for an easy side dish.
- 5 medium Red Skinned of Yukon Potatoes, sliced very thinly
- 1 large leek (~1 pound), sliced into slim ribbons
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Generous sprinkling Salt and Pepper
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill a 9x13 casserole dish with the sliced potatoes, standing in line from front to back (not stacked on top of each other).
- Scatter the ribboned leek everywhere and push it down in between the potatoes.
- Pour olive oil on top of everything, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Bake the dish for 45-60 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
- Heat your oven to 500 degrees, or turn on your broiler. Slide the dish under the high heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp on top.
- Remove and serve.
Breakfast desserts are a wonderful venue for experimentation. With this treat I took some morning time favorites and reframed them with an eye toward the tart/pie family. The crust is an oatmeal crumble, the body a tremble of yogurt set with gelatin, and the top is crowned in fruit. A joy eaten in the morning and a secret eaten at night, this tart will become a staple in your repertoire once you've tried it. Any fruit on top will do, I swap it out as the seasons shift. My new favorite? Fillets of mango spiraled around the yogurt.
1 cup GF Oats
½ cup Brown Sugar
⅓ cup Millet Flour
¼ cup Almond Meal
½ tsp Salt
3 ounces Coconut Oil
3 large Peaches
3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
1 packet Powdered Gelatin
3 tbs Water
2 cups Yoghurt (any variety will do)
2 tbs Honey
Juice of ½ Lemon
1 tsp Vanilla
½ tsp Salt
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie dish with a circle of parchment paper.
In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the crust with your hands. Squeeze and massage the mixture until there are no visible clumps.
Press the crust into your pie dish and up the sides. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until it is just starting to brown around the edges. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
While the crust is baking slice the peaches into small wedges. Stir them with the maple syrup and cardamom, then spill them into a roasting pan.
Roast the peaches in your already warm oven for 20-25 minutes, until they’re just showing some color and slightly withered. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
While the crust and peaches are cooling, pour the gelatin over the water in a shallow bowl and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
In a large saucepan whisk the yoghurt, lemon, vanilla, salt and honey over medium heat. When it is quite warm to the touch, turn off the heat.
Pour the gelatin into the yoghurt mixture and whisk until it is completely dissolved.
Pour the yoghurt mixture into the pie dish, into the crust.
Arrange the peaches on top however you like (scattered or spiralled).
Put the dish in your refrigerator at least 3 hours, or overnight, to set.
Slice and eat!
My pursuits of the perfect Saag have taken me far and wide. I’ve tried many a recipe in my kitchen, some my own, some belonging to those far more well-versed in Indian cooking. My pursuits have brought forth this dish, reminiscent of the saag at my favorite Indian restaurant, but tweaked for my Brooklyn kitchen. Instead of spinach I used rainbow chard because it was local, fresh and calling to me with jewel-toned legs amidst the shrubbery of the produce aisle. Two bunches may look like a lot when you stick it in your cart, but chard (like every leafy green) cooks down to nothing. Ergo, buy more than you think you need.
- 2 bunches Rainbow Chard
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 inch Ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon Mustard Seed
- ½ tablespoon Amchur (or the pit of one mango)
- 3-5 Cardomom Pods (depending on your affinity for the scent)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- Strip the leaves of chard from their jewel-toned stems. Reserve the stems for making veggie stock, we will not be using them in this recipe. Stack the leaves of chard and roll them into a fat, tight cigar. Slicing across the roll, cut the chard into strips. Set the ribbons aside.
- In a large stock pot or wok heat the oil over medium-high heat until rippling.
- Add the ginger and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Add the mustard seeds and amchur (or the mango pit) and immediately put a lid on the pot. The seeds will start to pop and without a lid your kitchen will be covered in tiny little black spots. I repeat, put a lid on it.
- When the popping dies down (after about a minute or two), open the lid and stuff the chard into the pot.
- Add the cardomom pods, salt and pepper and stir everything to combine.
- Continue to stir as the chard wilts and pour in the coconut milk.
- Put the lid back on the pot, drop the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the milk has thickened slightly.
- Eat it.
I'm not a fan of the hotel fruit salad, a jubilee of unseasonal and underripe cubes with little or no thought to structure and shape. And so when I set out to make a fruit salad it must have perspective, maturity, and reason. You'll never find a tumble of melons, citrus, berries, and grapes on my table. Our brunch was in close enough proximity to Passover that my brain subtly injected this reference to Charoset. Chopped apples, dates, and cashews, dressed with lemon and tamarind. It's a Southeast Asian take on my Jewish roots, and I'm eagerly awaiting a repeat performance.
- 3 Honeycrisp Apples
- 1 1/2 cups Raw Cashews, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup Tamarind Paste
- Juice of one Lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Peel and chop the apples into small cubes.
- In a large bowl mix the apples, chopped cashews, and chopped dates until evenly distributed.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. If the sauce is too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time until it is easily whiskable.
- Pour the sauce over the fruit and nut mix, toss to combine.
Beginning with an Indian inspiration I tore the insides from mental samosas and packed them into a casserole dish. The result is a tray of scoopable, spiced, tender, and crusty potatoes, perfect as the bed for some fried eggs. I add a lot of peas to my potato mixture, feel free to adjust the proportion should you be pea-averse.
4 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (~2 lbs)
1 tablespoon White Vineger
1/3 cup Olive Oil
2 Serrano Chilies, minced (~2 tbs)
5 cloves Garlic, minced (~1 1/2 tbs)
3 inches Ginger, chopped (~3 tbs)
1 tablespoon Black Mustard Seed
1 tablespoon Amchur
2 1/2 teaspoons Whole Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Fennel Powder
2 cups frozen Green Peas
- Chop the potatoes into roughly 2 inch pieces.
- Place them in a large saute pan and cover with two cups of water. Add the vinegar.
- Cover the pan and bring to a simmer, cook at a medium temp for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender but have not lost their shape completely.
- Drain the potatoes and partially mash in a large bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.
- When the oil is hot, toss in the serrano chilies, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Saute till light brown.
- Throw in all the remaining spices.
- Add the semi-mashed potatoes, stir everything to distribute the spices.
- Add the frozen peas.
- Spoon potato mixture into casserole dish and drizzle olive oil on top. Slide into the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the top.
A delight of layers, this cake has enough personality to please every texture nerd. I line the pan with caramelized walnuts, then pour the batter on top for baking. Once the cake is out of the oven and cool, I plaster the top with an easy chocolate mousse. Though it may look complicated, fret not- this is a cake you can throw together with minutes on the clock and look like a winner when the buzzer sounds.
- 2 cups Crushed/Chopped Walnuts
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
- 1/3 cup Tapioca Starch
- 1/3 cup White RIce Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 3 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Coconut Milk
- 3/4 cup Safflower Oil
- Zest of two Oranges
- In a large saute pan, heat the walnuts with brown sugar and bourbon over medium flame. When everything is sticky and melted, remove from the stove and pour into the bottom of a lined 9-inch springform cake pan.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (everything up until Eggs on the list).
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and lighter in color. Whisk in the oil, milk, and orange zest.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing to combine.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, over the caramelized walnuts.
- Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes, until browned on top and springy to the touch.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
I swear by this genius chocolate mousse posted on Food52, originated by Hervé This. Make a batch with orange juice from your remaining skinned oranges, and slather it on top of the cake before serving.
It wasn't until I was in college that my family (all living gluten free at that moment) discovered the wonder of this Brazilian bread. No yeast, no complicated blend of gluten free flours, this batter comes together in a few minutes with a small list of ingredients. You can make it with or without cheese. Adding handfuls of something sharp will amp up the flavor, though I must admit an addiction to this simple, dairy free, version. Traditionally, the batter is baked into small muffins, small rolls, but I've taken this opportunity to present you with my favorite alternative: the grill. Pour the batter directly onto a cast iron grill/griddle and you'll be rewarded with an alchemical transformation.
- 1 Egg
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 2/3 cup Coconut Milk (or regular milk)
- 1 1/2 cups Tapioca Flour
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: 1/2 cup Grated Cheese
- Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high flame.
- In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients fiercely, until the batter is smooth and shiny.
- When the grill is hot, pour the batter directly onto the iron. If it resists spreading, you can give it a nudge with a spatula, though gravity will most likely take care of the job.
- Let the bread grill until it curls up at the ends, about 10-15 minutes. Check the bottom for good color, then flip it over and grill the nude side for another 10-15 minutes (or until sufficiently toasted).
- Remove and tear into fingers for serving.
Yes, I'm making a lot of cabbage this winter. Truth be told, I'm trying my best to cook from local ingredients and at my market this is the only vegetable I can find that is grown even remotely close to NYC. But, necessity is the mother of invention and I've been keeping my tummy full with delicious variations on this hearty vegetable. Tonight's presentation is tarted up with lemon rind and given a kick in the tongue with some dried chilies. Golden garlic rounds out the flavor wheel, making the dish a new staple in your repertoire.
- 1 1/2 pounds Green Cabbage
- 1 head Garlic Cloves, sliced thinly
- Rind of 2 Lemons, cut in large strips
- 2 Dried Chilies
- 3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cut the cabbage into thin shreds, set aside.
- In the bottom of a wok or large stockpot, heat the oil. When hot, add the garlic and fry until golden. Then add the lemon peel and dried chilies. Toast everything.
- Add cabbage to pot, stir to combine, drop heat to medium-low and cook until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring infrequently.