Alert: Great travel site that lets you choose by price

February 26, 2013

Skyscanner will list destinations (cheapest first) if you to put in your outbound airport, dates and person count (just leave the To: field blank).  It’s great for figuring out where you can afford to go!  Thanks to my wonderful friend Erika for telling me about this site!

Sample Skyscanner

I put in NYC (for any NYC airport) and listed some dates and number of people and BOOM – cheap(er) destination ideas!

For another great travel site, see my recent micro-post on SeatGuru!

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What do I do with leftover cauliflower?

February 23, 2013

I have had that same problem.  Most recipes I use only require half a head of cauliflower!  I had to come up with a way to use that other half.

This is a recipe I called “Stewed Vegetables,” for lack of a better name.  It’s not very sexy or descriptive, but it serves my purpose because it changes based on what I have to use up in my refrigerator.  It always has cauliflower and a TON of greens, but other than that, it’s up in the air.  The basic steps are:

  • par boil/blanch diced up “harder” veggies (potatoes, cauliflower, collard greens, etc) if they aren’t already cooked
  • cook beans or lentils if they’re not already cooked (optional)
  • heat up stock, and if you don’t have any, reserve water from blanching greens
  • sauté fresh herbs (or bloom dried herbs and spices) in butter or ghee  in a large pan (I use a 14.5″ diameter pan which is ridiculous, but hey, we eat a lot)
  • add chopped onions to the pan and sauté over medium heat until translucent
  • add some salt and freshly ground pepper (don’t add salt if you’re using chard as your green – I find it quite salty)
  • if there’s still some moisture / oil in the pan, throw in the beans or lentils if you have them, if not, throw them in after the stock
  • Add stock / reserved blanching water
  • continue to cook, uncovered, to desired “stew” consistency.
  • NOTE: if you have rice or quinoa you want to use up, just throw that in at the end to heat it up (you don’t want to overcook them).  My favorite herb to use is sage and my favorite “hard” veggies are cauliflower, collards and Japanese sweet potatoes.
I like this dish so much, sometimes I'll make it from scratch if I don't have the right leftovers.  Here's my mise en place, so show relative amounts of each basic ingredient.

I like this dish so much, sometimes I’ll make it from scratch if I don’t have the right leftovers. Here’s my mise en place, to show relative amounts of each basic ingredient.

Stewed Veggies

A version with Sage, Cauliflower, Red Chard, Japanese Sweet Potato and Chicken Bone Broth.

This dish works really well with curry and chick peas as well.  Just make sure you bloom the curry in plenty of butter/ghee before you put the onions in.  That’s a very important step!

Here is another, earlier post of mine regarding the use of leftover vegetables.  Lastly, another great way to use leftover cauliflower (I wish this recipes was mine, but it isn’t) is Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice (it has no rice!).


Alert: Ish horseradish!

February 22, 2013

Last week, I was in Forager’s Market and tasted a sample of Ish Premium Horseradish, and people, it was AMAZING.  I ponied up the money (get it?) and bought a jar of the ginger flavor.  It’s amazing on sushi, fish, and I even mixed some with tamari to make a dumpling dip.  I can’t wait to try it on some pork, or maybe even a roast beef sandwich.  Soon, I’ll just start spooning it into my mouth.  It’s made in the Hudson Valley, it’s in a glass jar (bonus points), and it’s good for you.  Plus, Carolyn seemed like a nice person in the 30 seconds that I talked to her while gulping down delicious samples.  Just buy some of this.  Trust me.

Ish Horseradish

Carolyn Sherman, of Ish Premium Horseradish

Epilogue: People, it’s the next day, and I mixed some of my ISH into hummus and had it on Mountain Sweet Berry Farms potato chips (available at the Union Square Farmer’s Market!).  Wonderful!  Try it!


How do you make bone broth?

February 20, 2013

I make it slowly.  I don’t use just bones and joints (which are necessary to get the minerals and collagen you need to have a true bone broth).  I add a lot of meat and aromatics for extra flavor because I drink it like coffee and use it in a lot of dishes I make.  Also, I try to use up leftovers (like mushroom and parsley stems) and ingredients that I won’t be using before they go bad.  I never use cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts or potatoes in a stock because they ruin it.

In my latest chicken bone broth I used:

Top row, left to right:
Fresh chicken parts that I didn’t use in a recent recipe, frozen chicken parts and leftover bones, leftover bones from the recent recipe (after I ate it).

Bottom row, left to right:
Pure Indian Foods brand ghee, 2 diced onions, chopped leftover shiitake mushroom stems (with 2 diced carrots under them), chopped fresh ginger, chopped fresh garlic, 3 fresh bay leaves, fresh oregano, 2 stalks chopped celery, leftover parsley – mostly stems.

I also add white wine (I’ve had good luck with Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay – it’s cheap and works well in my stock)  and plenty of filtered water.

My Bone Broth Ingredients

My Bone Broth Ingredients

I melted a few tablespoons of ghee in a 12 quart stock pot over medium-high heat and start my sautéing.

Sauté

Sautee the onions in ghee until they are translucent, then add mushroom stems until fragrant, then carrots.

Now it’s time to start heating up the water to add to the stock later.

Sauté 2

Add the oregano, bay, ginger and garlic. Sauté only long enough for the garlic to become pleasantly fragrant, and no longer. Browned or burned garlic will ruin the stock.

You may need to add more ghee if you weren’t liberal enough with it in the beginning.

Sauté 3

I add the celery last and mix throughly.

Add in the fresh chicken.

Browning the chicken

Add the fresh chicken, pressing it skin down into the pan to encourage browning and some fat release.

If I had thawed the frozen stuff, I would add it in after the first round of meat browned. The more brown (not burned) bits you have on the bottom, the more flavorful the broth.  When the chicken starts browning, stir everything around a bit and adjust heat (if you need to) to make sure nothing is burning.

Browning the chicken 2

Look for a good amount of browned (not burned) parts on the bottom. Time for deglazing!

Add wine to a nice hot pan and stir, scraping up the browned bits to mix into the liquid.

Deglazing

Add wine. Be liberal. Good life advice, I think.

This is where I would add any of the frozen parts and leftover bones from cooked food.  The cooking off of the wine will help to heat those up.  Mix them in once they’ve been warmed up.

A little extra chicken browning

The remaining bones get to heat up and the rest of the chicken gets a chance to brown.

I add the hot water, a kettle-full at a time until the the pot is about 2/3 full.  Then I stir lightly to make sure nothing is left on the bottom of the pan.

Water is added

Water is added. Bring to a light boil and immediately shift the heat to simmer. Let the waiting begin!

Many people add a tablespoon or so of vinegar into the pot at this point to help extract the minerals and collagen from the bones.  If I have it, I will add apple cider vinegar, though it doesn’t really have an effect on the taste.  If you add too much water and/or you boil too furiously, your broth will not gel up after cooling , as a good bone broth should.  I like to partially cover the pot for the long, slow simmer to keep the heat in and to make sure I don’t over evaporate.  I want a high yield!

I don’t usually touch the stock during this time (8-12 hours).  At the end of the simmering time, most of the joints and collagen should be rendered into the stock and the bones should be brittle or at least break easily.

Strain the stock and put into glass jars.  Leave ample space between the broth and the jar lid if you are freezing it, as the broth will expand.  Let the jars sit for an hour (uncovered) before putting them into the refrigerator or freezer.  (Cooks Illustrated tells us that an hour is optimal in The Science of Good Cooking, p. 101.)

High yield, great taste!

I will drink most of this broth within the week, but risotto and some delicious sauces will be made, and a jar or two may actually make it into the freezer.

Remember to heat the broth to boiling when you use it, and if you used organic, pastured chickens, eat the fat!  It’s wonderful for you!

NOTE: If you want to speed up the extraction of minerals from the bones, besides adding a tablespoon of vinegar during the simmering phase, you can also hack up the bones and joints prior to cooking.  Also, if I had them, I would add more backs, necks, giblets and feet to this stock as well, as they are great sources of flavor, collagen and minerals.


Alert: Helpful travel planning site!

February 1, 2013

Have you people seen Seat Guru?  You can find almost any aircraft’s seat map!  LOVE!


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