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Apple Crumble - using up old apples!

While I was going through my refrigerator earlier tonight, I realized that I had 3 apples (a little on the mealy side) and 1 pear that definitely seen better days. I hate throwing out fruit that I didn’t get the chance to eat, so I looked up a recipe for apple crumble and voila…dessert is served!

Here’s how I did it…

Yummy  Apple Crisp

  • 4 apples
  • 1 cup of flour (you can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup of rolled oats or steel cut oats

I used rolled oats, I like the consistency better.

  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of butter

I used 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of olive oil

  • Cinnamon to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Core and thinly slice apples and place in a casserole dish. There is no need to peel the apples. There are vital nutrients in the skin. However, if your apples are in really bad shape, you may want to cut the bruised parts away.

In a mixing bowl, blend sugar, flour and oats.

Sprinkle dry mixture over apples.


Spread chunks of butter and dribble olive oil evenly over the dry mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.

 

 

 

Thrifting…kind of an obsession (yikes!)

In the past year I’ve become a huge fan of thrifting. I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood where there are some pretty great thrift stores. Great for me because I have an on-going donation bag and can drop things off frequently. All in the span of a one block radius, there are 6 thrift stores where I’ve scored some pretty great deals. My purchases tend to be mostly housewares.

My relationship with thrift stores used to consist of a quarterly visit to donate clothes and household items. Now, I try to stop in about once a week, sometimes more if I have time to browse.

I am constantly shocked at the prices of some of the items. When I see something that catches my eye, I snatch it up quickly. I’ve discovered that thrifting is like shopping at a sample sale. If you see something you’re remotely interested in, it’s best to grab it then and there, otherwise someone else will snatch it up the second you put it down.

Some crazy deals are out there! It’s a great way to stock up a kitchen inexpensively and with quality items. I wish I had thought of thrifting when I was stocking up on my kitchen wares right after I got married a few years back….oh well!

If you haven’t tried thrifting, I highly suggest it!

Good mornin’ Blueberry muffins

Over MLK, I was hanging out with the family and ate one of the best blueberry muffins ever! I think I ate 3 of them over the course of 18 hours…yikes!

I’m usually not the biggest blueberry fan, but these muffins were deliciously moist, flavorful and irresistible!

Here’s the recipe…I’m making these this mornin’!

Mornin’ Time Muffins (from the New York Cookbook)
1/2 cup melted butter
I might try making these with a light olive oil…I loves me some butter, but I’m trying to cut back!
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
I used greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries, dusted with flour
I didn’t dust the berries prior to adding them to the mix
1.  Preheat oven to 375 deg F.  Butter a 12 cup muffin tin or place a paper liner in each cup.
2.  Combine the melted butter, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the yogurt.
3.  In another bowl, combine the baking soda, flour and lemon zest.  
4.  Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  Finally, using a few swift strokes, add the blueberries.  
5.  Divide the batter among the 12 cups.  
6. Bake until golden, 30 minutes.  

No-knead pizza dough…seriously easy as pie!

My latest culinary adventure has been in the world of pizza making. After spotting a recipe for Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Even though pizza dough ingredients are so basic: flour, salt, yeast and water, it was the endless kneading process that intimidated me. Instead of attempting to make the dough myself, I always opted to buy my pizzas (for $20 a pie!!!).

After reading this recipe, I realized the trick to the Jim Lahey method was the 18 hour waiting period required to allow the dough to rise. Patience is not exactly one of my strongest traits, but I made the dough at 11:00 pm and in less than 5 minutes, I was done. Since the directions said to keep the dough in a non-drafty warm-ish area, I opted to house the dough inside my microwave (after many popcorn popping sessions).

18 wonderful hours later, I had a pretty fluffy pizza dough and here came the hard part…I rolled it out instead of spinning in the air. My square dough came out pretty great and I rolled it onto my aluminum pan.

After about 15 minutes, my pizzas (I made two, one with my toppings and one for my hubby’s many toppings), were done. Wow, I was shocked at how beautifully brown the crusts were, even the bottoms were crisp!

Now the moment of truth…both pizzas were delish!

Now, it’s your turn….here’s the recipe, courtesy of Jim Lahey and Bon Appetit!

No-Knead Pizza Dough

This dough is chewy, bubbly, and better than what you’ll get at most pizza places. It bakes wonderfully in a home oven, on a pizza stone or a baking sheet. And thanks to the brilliant no-knead method of Jim Lahey—owner of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery and pizza spot Co.—it’s easy to prepare, deriving its character from overnight fermentation, not laborious kneading. Just remember to start at least 1 day ahead.

Makes six 10”–12” pizzas
Active time: 90 minutes total time: 20 1/2 hours

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams) plus more for shaping dough
  • 4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

Preparation

  • Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 3 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°) in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).
  • Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions.
  • Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2–3 hours before shaping.

To Make the Pizzas

  • During the last hour of dough’s resting, prepare oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°, for 1 hour. If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
  • Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10”–12” disk.

If Using Pizza Stone

  • When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
  • Using small, quick back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5–7 minutes.
  • Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.

If Using a Baking Sheet

  • Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

(Source: bonappetit.com)

My love affair…with the Elfa shelving system

Today, I saw a posting on Apartment Therapy about Closet Systems and immediately thought of my experience in this department. It’s a daunting task, but totally worth the time and investment.

Living in Manhattan, there’s never enough space for all of our stuff. What we lack in floor space, we have to make up with using vertical space.

When I was dating my husband, he had TWO walls lined with CD shelves (over 2000 CDs!!!). I was always disgusted with the wasted real estate and repeatedly told him how he could expand his space by getting rid of the shelves.

After we got married and I moved in, I had nowhere to put my stuff, so he graciously offered to house his CDs elsewhere and into boxes and every nook and cranny they went!

After we ditched the CD shelves, I went to the Container Store in Chelsea and worked with a fantastic designer who helped me with a shelving system to suit our storage needs. I ordered the pieces in-store (@ 30% off!!) and had them delivered to our apartment within a week. There were so many pieces and it was really intimidating, but with the help of my cousin, her trusty power drill and a sturdy ladder, we were able to put the shelves up in a couple of hours.

All in all, I think we really made a great decision in investing in the Elfa shelves. They have increased our storage exponentially and everyone that sees it can’t believe how much stuff we can cram into our tiny space. It’s the one thing I’ll miss about our place when we leave. I plan to leave the unit here, as it works perfectly with our space.

For anyone who is pondering closet systems, this Apartment Therapy post is great! Here’s the post: http://bit.ly/XhNOpJ

My vote is for the Elfa system, but it may not be for everyone…good luck!

Fish Tacos & Pickled Red Cabbage - Yum!

In an attempt to add more fish to our household diet, I have been trying to come up with some creative ways to enjoy fish. My hubby loves fish, me not so much. I had to make something that would satisfy my love of “fast food” and his love of “healthy”. I thought battered fish tacos would be a happy medium.

Tonight’s fish tacos were fantastic! I have to say, they were delish! I went online to look for some fried fish taco recipes that didn’t require me to go buy extra ingredients and I came across this great one from eatingwell.com. The original recipe calls for a tomato and avocado salsa, but I decided to make pickled red cabbage instead.

I would’ve taken a photo of the finished product, but I kind of had my hands full doing too many things at once (heating up corn tortillas, fishing out the fish out of my skillet (hot oil!) and plating everything).

All in all, a great menu item and my hub and I loved it!

I hope you have a chance to try it out too.

Enjoy!!

Beer Battered Fish Tacos (from eatingwell.com)

Ingredients

  • tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper, or to taste

I’m not one for spicy foods and I think I should’ve added much less cayenne pepper. Still tasty, but spicy!

  • 1/3  cup(s) beer
  • ounce(s) tilapia fillet, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips

I used wild Alaskan cod instead and it was awesome! I think halibut would be yummy also.

  • teaspoon(s) canola oil
  • corn tortillas, warmed

Directions

  1. Combine flour, cumin, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer to create a batter.
  2. Coat tilapia pieces in the batter. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve the fish with tortillas and salsa.

Recipe source: http://bit.ly/7lmbee

Pickled Cabbage (from Chef Jose Garces)

For pickled cabbage:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded red cabbage

Preparation:

Pickled cabbage: In a plastic container, combine salt, sugar and vinegar. Add cabbage. Pickle for at least one day, covered and refrigerated.

Since I didn’t prep this in advance, I just let my red cabbage sit in the vinegar mixture for about 30 minutes. It was good, but it’ll probably be better tomorrow.

Recipe source: http://on.today.com/13FGXNj

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