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Showing posts from May, 2012

Healthier Chicken Kiev

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Chicken Kiev -- butter filled fried breasts of chicken -- deserved its fashionable status in mid-century America based on taste.   But in another sense it deserves its contemporary degraded status as food for hospitals and bad dorm cafeterias.   Tasty the classic recipe may be, but unhealthy is also is.      

Fortunately, Jacques Pepin has a solution.   The lovely and gifted Ms. Garlic purchased his new Essential Pepin for my birthday, and the title ain't lyin'.   Among the book's many virtues is that Pepin has a good instinct for knowing when tweaks to classic dishes can eliminate fat and calories without major sacrifices of flavor.   His updated Chicken Kiev -- baked, not fried, and with a filling from which butter can be reduced to taste -- is a perfect example.

Nor is it difficult.    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.    Melt a little butter in a skillet over medium heat, and add one large or two small diced white onions.   Saute for a couple minutes.   Add 2-3 cups of…

Homemade Veggie Burgers

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I am always on the hunt for lunch ideas to eat at the office. My last idea was wrap sandwiches and that worked out great for a while. On our plane back from D.C. this week, I bought a Martha Stewart publication "Whole Living". It is like "Living" but without the crafts and with more of a focus on health. I read in the magazine about quinoa and kidney beans veggie burgers. I am always looking for ways to use up things in our pantry, and if I can turn things we just have sitting around into healthy and readily available lunches, than my week is all the better. I didn't follow the recipe exactly. After a bit of Googling I found this recipe, and it seemed a bit like making meatballs only with vegetarian ingredients. I cooked up some red quinoa we purchased at the NutBox in Brooklyn (love that place). I cooked up some kidney beans we got way back from our CSA in the fall. I cut off some scallions from my totally awesome scallion plant I got from my friend Jessica at…

Owney, the Postal Dog

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Did you know that the mascot of the U.S. Postal Service is from Albany, NY? Yep, it is Owney the dog, and he loved the smell of postal bags. You can learn all about him at the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here I am with a statue of him.


Adorable!


Here is a video. You can also follow him on Twitter.

May Food Swap and South End Tavern

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Today I want to the food swap with the From Scratch Club in Troy. It was on Saturday instead of Sunday to be part of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day. I juiced 31 lemons to make 6 bottles of lavender lemonade. Check out the recipe on Joy the Baker. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of my bottles of lemonade or my piles of lemons I juiced, but I can say the very cool bottles I got were from Christmas Tree Shops ($1.99). The recipe is incredibly delicious. I juiced about 18 more lemons for my sample jug. I had extra from that batch and sat around drinking that, watching not very good movies (One Day and half of Horrible Bosses), and watching my coworkers Cheasapeake Retrievers last night. It was pure heaven.

Without bragging too much, this item was ridiculously, almost overwhelmingly, popular. Other ideas I had for this time were: fresh pasta, oyster crackers, BBQ sauce, and ice cream. But once I read the lavender lemonade recipe on Joy the Baker a couple weeks ago, it just …

Albany, NY: Its better than Meadville, PA

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It is hard to believe we have almost lived here for three years. Anyone who has seen The Five Year Engagement can appreciate how hard the academic job market can be, and how little choice people in those professions often have as to where they end up (what was stupid about that movie was that I spent half my life thinking Ann Arbor was the coolest city in the world, or at least right up there with Paris, but the movie portrayed it like it was North Dakota so that was weird). Three and a half years ago, my now husband and then boyfriend, who lived in a different borough of NYC and who I went out to dinner with a couple nights a week, had a job interview in Meadville, PA. He flew into Pittsburgh, PA, drove over an hour and a half in a rented car. This wasn't an adorable, idyllic college town like Williamstown, MA, it was a decaying milltown with a college in it. The professors at the school said that it didn't matter there wasn't anything to do there, since everything was s…

Red Lobster, Wolf Road

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We went over to Colonie Center for me to look for an outfit to wear for a presentation I am giving at a conference in Washington, D.C. next week. I don't know what to wear. It is going to be 81 degrees, and I always remember D.C. being humid in the spring when I was younger. But, to complicate things they may have air conditioning on inside the conference. Part of me just thinks I should wear my usual "job interview outfit", like this:

But then I think, I definitely don't want to be wear heels while running around a city and a conference, and I don't want to be hot. Perhaps just black pants and a loose fitting top? Perhaps a comfortable dress and a blazer? I just don't know. I tried on half of New York and Co. and they just seemed to have a lot of what I already have. Any advice? I have pretty much always struggled with the "how to be professional and stay cool in the summer?" question.

Anyways, so our friend was talking about the cheddar biscuits a…

TWD, Baking with Julia: Pecan Sticky Buns

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie, using the book Baking with Julia I made the pecan sticky buns.



My husband is allergic to nuts, and I was either going to leave off the pecans, replace them with sunflower seeds or just skip this one, but he suggested I go make them at someone else's house. It is quite an intimidating recipe. Check out some chatter about it here. You can read the recipe on Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Cookies on Friday

I started the brioche the night before. I thought it would be most powerful to use the dough attachment on my food processor, but by putting the ingredients in before the dough blade, some brioche dough got between the bowl and the blade causing my usually all powerful food processor to stop and overheat. I had to finish up the beating of the dough with my hand mixer. After I overheated half the appliances in my house, I couldn't believe how beautiful this dough was looking. I woke up at 6 am and completed the assembling and rolling of the buns…

The King of Cocktails

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It being Mad Men season and all, Sunday nights now demand a cocktail.   And even if it wasn't so appropriate to the show, a Manhattan would be my cocktail of choice.   While Mahhattans made with bourbon or Canadian whiskey are find, made with real rye they're even better.    As a recent survey of cheap alcohol at The Awl also found, Rittenhouse Rye might be the best value at your local intelligently stocked liquor store, a whiskey that is not merely decent in a mixed drink but actively enjoyable on the rocks that you can sometimes find for less than 20 bucks.   In any case, it makes a perfect Manhattan, and the addition of vermouth makes it an even better deal.    So:

Put a martini or old-fashioned glass in the freezer.Combine about 2 - 2 1/2 parts rye (if you can't find Rittenhouse, Sazerac is equally good although a little pricier; Wild Turkey Rye is OK but I'd probably just use bourbon in that case) with about 1 part sweet vermouth over ice in a cocktail shaker.   I…

Mother's Day Brunch at New World

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We have talked about New World Bistro on this blog before, once last year, and when I got them to cater lunch in the bridal suite before our wedding. Well, today we decided to go to the movies to see Damsels in Distress because it is ending on Tuesday. We went back and forth about whether to make egg sandwiches or go out for brunch like it was a normal Sunday. We decided to go out, and when we showed up at New World and saw the buffet, we immediately said to each other - "Ah! It is Mother's Day!" My mom lives in Michigan and my Mother in Law lives in western Canada, a situation like Daniel describes. We did purchase them both cards but failed to send them in time. I definitely notice when Valentine's Day comes around, but last year I didn't notice Father's Day so much that I planned my wedding on that day. What can you do?

Anyways, so obviously there were no tables, but we were able to sit and eat at the bar. They had a buffet for $25 a person, and basically …

Ravioli Class at Gio Culinary Studio

Tonight I went to a ravioli making class at Gio Culinary Studio in Voorheesville. It was ridiculously fun. We recently got a pasta machine, so my husband signed me up for it.

I guess I just first want to say that my interest in cooking stems from several factors, including that it can create a loving feeling in the home,  and a larger sense of community. Coworkers also seem to like when I bring in cookies. But here is another important thing that cannot be forgotten - learning how to cook is great because with not very much money and not really too much effort you can, on a regular basis, make food for yourself as good as or better than food that is served at any restaurant. This last benefit of my interest in food and cooking was what came into my mind tonight. With common everyday ingredients and a simple sequence of steps your mind can be blown completely.

I went out to Voorheesville to his little storefront that has pictures of wedding cakes in the window. An adorable engaged coup…

TWD, Baking with Julia: Hungarian Shortbread

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie using the book Baking with Julia,  I made the Hungarian shortbread. You can read the recipe on Cher's blog and also on 1smallkitchen. Check out some discussion about the recipe here.

I used strawberry rhubarb jam that I bought at the shop at Indian Ladder Farms.


Check out how my shortbread turned out.




Great paired with coffee or tea.


 I even packed some up to mail to my dad for his birthday.


 Here's what I thought about the recipe:

I listened to the bakers who thought we should bake the bottom layer for 10 or 15 minutes before applying the jam. That worked out well.My husband and my coworkers all approve of these cookies. I think you can tell whether people are just saying something is good, or if they really really like something. "Whoa, those are good! Seriously!" as opposed to "Thanks for making them!" One of my coworkers particularly like the crumbly nature of the topping. My husband particularly liked the way that the bitt…

April Foodie Pen Pals

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Last month I read a post from fellow local blogger, Jen is Green, about a foodie pen pal program. It sounded like fun, and I decided to give it a try. You can read about the specifics of the program here. Now I don't usually like the word "foodie" and what it implies, but in this case I'll get over it.

Check out what I sent to Aly in Wisconsin here. It included croutons I got from the April Food Swap, and the Tuesdays with Dorie lemon loaf cake I made.

Amanda from Albuquerque, New Mexico sent me some great stuff. I have never been there, so it was a taste of an unknown area of the country for me. Check out what I received.


Her theme that she came up with was "picnic". It was a great theme, and I love the Southwest representation with all the spicy foods. Here are little snacks we made out of the spicy summer sausage, jalapeno jack cheese, and savory crackers which had a bit of chili in them.


I think most things were from World Market, which is really cool s…