Ciao!

September 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh, hi!

When fall descended on New York last Thursday over the course of two hours (literally), I decided that I could finally stand the idea of being near the oven and cooking Real Food on a regular basis again. And tonight, I like to think that I was divinely inspired to return to the ole ball and chain that is this blog. I can’t promise that any of the roomies will  join us here in the One-Drawer Kitchen, or that I’ll always have interesting commentary to accompany the recipes I attempt, but don’t stop believin’. You never know what could happen.

So without further ado,

Broccoli-

Cheese

CIAOder. (aka Chowder. See what I did there?)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I omitted this because I don’t really like mustard)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omitted because I have zero tolerance for spicy things, unfortunately)
  • 2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used one of the 32-oz boxes of chicken broth)
  • 8 ounces broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch pieces, stems and florets separated
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (I used normal extra sharp cheddar because low-fat cheddar is an abomination)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (already had this on hand, and not as offensive to the Diety of Dairy)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (omitted, because even with reduced-sodium broth, it was a tad salty)

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  2. Add broth and broccoli stems; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in florets; simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes more. Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a bowl and mash; return to the pan. After reading comments on the recipe, I decided to skip the hand mash and lightly puree most of the soup in the blender for a smoother/creamier soup.
  3. Stir in Cheddar and sour cream; cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through, about 2 minutes.
Don’t be alarmed if a few chunks of celery remain. It’s a nice change of texture.
xoxo,
Leonore

Oreo Fudge Bars

May 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

Do you work in an office?

Does your office have a bake-off or other friendly coworker cooking contest?

Do you want to win it?

THEN MAKE THESE FUDGE BARS.

Seriously. The Oreo Fudge Bar has now won 100% (2 for 2) of the bake-offs it has been entered in by your friends here at The One-Drawer Kitchen. And to top it all off, it’s a pretty quick and easy recipe. The hardest part is getting out the Cuisinart.

1 16oz. package of Oreo cookies
1 stick of butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I used all semi-sweet chips)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325.  Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM. Set aside 6 Oreo cookies for the toppings.

In a small food processor, grind the rest of the cookies. If you don’t have a food processor, just pound with a rolling pin until the cookies are fine crumbs. Add the salt to the crumbs and stir to combine.

Melt butter and gently stir together with the cookie crumb mixture. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Coarsely chop the remaining cookies into chunks and set aside.

In the microwave (or over a double boiler if you actually feel like washing TWO pots), melt the semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips together with the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir frequently until smooth, and then spread evenly over the prepared cookie crust. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and the Oreo cookies chunks over the top of the filling. Press down gently into the chocolate topping.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool on counter for 1 hour. Chill in fridge until completely cold and set before cutting into bars. Keep them small! These things are rich.

April showers bring May (cauli)flowers

May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Well, kids, it’s May.

Can you believe it?

We’ve had enough of rain (both inside and outside of our living room) here at the One-Drawer Kitchen, so we are more than ready for the proverbial flowers that May is supposed to bring us.

In the meantime, here’s a tasty recipe for some cauliflower.

  • 8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
I omitted the marjoram, mainly because we didn’t have any on hand (and partly because I don’t know what it is–cooking newbie, remember?).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then, chop the cauliflower into florets.
Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.
Enjoy!
xoxo,
Leonore

Hoppy Easter!

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I think Easter dinner, I usually think ham. Green bean casserole. Au gratin potatoes.

But this year, I decided to go for a lighter variation on the theme–pork medallions in cranberry chutney with roasted asparagus, green beans, and potatoes.

So after a lovely lunch on the roof with friends of The One-Drawer Kitchen and an old-school Easter egg hunt in our backyard, I forced myself to walk away from the candy and get down to business.

  • 1 lb of pork tenderloins, cut into thirds, about 1 in. thick
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup canned whole-berry sweetened cranberry sauce
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t freshly ground ginger
  • small bunch of asperagus
  • 3-4 red potatoes, chopped
  • bag of fresh green beans, washed and ends removed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the veggies
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Roast 40 mins (or until green beans are crispy–they taste like candy!).

For the pork
Heat oil in a large skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of pork and saute for 2 minutes per side. Remove pork; set aside. In the juices in the skillet, saute onion for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Return the pork to the pan; simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until pink is gone from center. Serve.

Easter eggs and chocolate bunny optional.
xoxo,
Leonore (and sister helped too!)

Things I Learned Today:

April 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

1. That we do, indeed, have a broiler here in our fancy kitchen.

2. That French onion soup is absolutely, beautifully, simply delicious.

——

Anyone who knows me (Wesley), or who has read this blog at least once, probably knows that I (and the rest of us here at the apartment) absolutely love caramelized onions. They’re without question one of the greatest foods known to mankind. Also delicious: crusty bread and melty cheese. That being said, how is it at all possible that I have never once in my life (seriously, not ever) eaten French onion soup, or any onion-related soup at all, for that matter? One of life’s unanswerable questions, to be sure.

So, today, like mostly every day in recent memory, was rainy. And gross. And when it wasn’t raining, it was stuffy and humid and awful. One of those days where it feels like everything — people, animals, plants — is just entirely listless. On my walk to the grocery store (accompanied via phone by my mother, of course), it seemed as though the clouds and rain and dreary weather had gone and sucked all of the energy out of the entire neighborhood. On a day like that, there are few things to do other than cozy up in the apartment and make soup. And make soup we did. This soup. Holy. Moly. Smitten Kitchen, you are the greatest.

It’s a slightly lengthy process, sure. But it is so, so worth it. We started with this: 

And ended with this:

In between, Anna and I put together a salad course to tide us over the second of two 40-minute simmering phase of the soup-making. It was perfect.

Yep, you do indeed see pink lady apples, grapes, and toasted walnuts all up in there.

Today, also, I learned about our broiler. I had no idea that we had one – in fact, I was going to bail on the cheesy toast slices altogether, thinking that we didn’t have the capacity to broil them to crispy perfection. Anna showed me just how wrong I was.

So, so excited.

And now, we’re letting our glasses of white wine set in before finishing off our delicious dinners with some dark chocolate ice cream. Life is good, rainy day and all.

xoxo,

Wesley & Anna

Keen-wha?

April 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

Quinoa.

It’s not just a Cosmo-sanctioned grocery store pick-up line that we mocked endlessly, or the subject of intense “is this Kosher?” (in the literal sense) debate, or a food Leonore had never heard of before living with Alison.

It’s also what we had for dinner last night as a delightful update of the classic dish, rice and beans.

Here’s our version of the recipe:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon curry spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1.5 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

As far as preparations go, start by heating the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned. At this point, (we, at least) also make sure that both of the living room windows are open to create a breeze that (usually) prevents the smoke alarm from going off.Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth (or your favorite mix of water and “Better than Bouillan”). Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.While simmering, consume copious amounts of gruyere and cheddar cheese on whole-wheat pita chips from your artfully-designed cheese plate.

Finally, stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans (no colander needed to rinse–just use the can and save on dish washing) and cilantro.

Serve with garlic bread, avocado slices, and more cilantro for garnish (and extra flavor, if you’re of the pro-cilantro persuasion).

Also best enjoyed in the company of lovely roommates and visiting-from-London friend.

xoxo,
Alison
Leonore
Anna
Wesley

Just Like Mom Used to Make

April 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s a rainy and miserable April afternoon, the kind that even the promise of May flowers can’t redeem, the kind where you sit around and eat soup, and watch TV, and even the characters on the TV are eating soup. (Synergy!) I’m trying to find the silver lining of all of these clouds, and am using this evening to look through the many pictures of my mom’s visit.

What’s great about having visitors is that they give you an excuse to go do all the things you otherwise forget about – visiting museums, eating at the tasty restaurants you’ve been meaning to try, venturing to Herold Square and Rockefeller Center, and generally playing the role of tourist while still maintaining your jaded New Yorker cred. But what’s great about having your mom as a visitor is that you get to do that stuff, but also enjoy her home cooking expertise. So, without further adieu, a sampling of what my mom and I ate on her visit here.

On Sunday, we went to Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg, on the first outdoor weekend of the season. The Sunday Flea is right on the water, with a lovely view of Manhattan and the bridges (which is incidentally the name of my next band). Unfortunately, the location also means that it can be freezing and windy, and on this Sunday, it sure was. We kicked off our visit with a stop at the Porchetta booth, which fortified us enough to brave the the wind and the dust devils. But delicious meat can only last you so long (get your mind out of the gutter), so we capped off our Flea-sperience with a Romaine Dinghy from Saltie. There’s nothing like a salty, fishy sandwich and a sample of olive oil cake to protect you from the wind. Except maybe a windbreaker.

After the flea, we went to Trader Joe’s to pick up ingredients for dinner and a Brooklyn Trader Joe’s bag for my mom. I, on the other hand, used my D.C. Trader Joe’s bag, which completely impressed our cashier. He’s apparently quite an collector, and has researched all available Trader Joe’s bags. According to him, the hierarchy of bag awesomeness is D.C.>Brooklyn>Atlanta. We’ll have to take his word on how hideous the Atlanta bag is, since there are no Googleable pics to back him up. A conspiracy? Anyway, you heard it hear first: Trader Joe’s bags are the next Beanie Babies. But more tasty than a bag? Chicken piccata with potatoes and asparagus and salad. Once more, my mom was dismayed to learn we didn’t have a staple – capers, in this case – but we improvised and it worked out. Here’s what’s great about moms: they don’t need recipes! How long until I’m at that point?

Also, pro (mom) tip: if you’re going to pound your chicken with a frying pan, make sure to put it in a plastic bag first. Otherwise, it’ll sploosh out everywhere. Live and learn!

You know the other great thing about moms, or at least my mom? If you’ve maybe left salad greens in your fridge for like a week plus, and maybe some of it has become that gross black lettuce decay, she’ll pick through the greens for you and salvage the good stuff. Motherly love! Or, like, instinct of protecting your young. Regardless. Moms! The best!

The reason we had that salad for dinner is because we had eaten 6 and 8 ounces of tri-tip for lunch. I’ll leave it up to you to guess who ate how much. The tri-tips were courtesy of a place called Tri Tip Grill, in Rockefeller Center. But I can’t think of it as anything but the Buckhorn. See, I grew up in Winters, a town with 5,000 people. It was known for a few things: having no stoplights, being the gateway to Lake Berryessa and the Glory Hole (again, mind out of gutter, y’all), and having the Buckhorn Steakhouse, one of the best steakhouses around. In my childhood, the best/worst part of the Buckhorn was the huge collection of taxidermied animals adorning the walls. But now, it’s the utterly addictive Roadhouse Onions. If you’re in New York, San Francisco, or, I don’t know, Winters, CA, go get ‘em!

In an excellent coincidence, the other restaurant in Winters owned by the Buckhorn folks was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives while my mom was here. If you watch it, you can see my pre-school teacher endorsing the pizzas made in an oven built by my next-door neighbor, while my parents’ friend sits at the next table. Like I said, small town.

After she’d bought my steak, taken me to Al Di La, cooked all week, and didn’t complain once about sharing my bed, I figured I owed my mom a little something something. So I made the delicious pull-apart cinnamon toast breadfor her. We showed remarkably more restraint this time, and took two whole days to finish eating it! But seriously, this bread is so good that I can honestly see myself making it for the rest of my life. TRY IT.

And finally, a pro (Anna) tip: why buy a rolling pin? Just guzzle a whole bottle of wine and use that instead!

xoxo,

Anna (and her mom)

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