July 9, 2009

Attention: Wounded Chef has Moved

The Wounded Chef has moved! I am now blogging as Color Me Green over at http://colormegreenanew.blogspot.com. I merged all of my recipes and food-related content into Color Me Green, where I will continue to write about delicious seasonal food and a lot more, meandering through my slow food, DIY, eco-friendly life in Brooklyn. I hope you will continue to follow me at this new address.

Please remember to update to the new URL (http://colormegreenanew.blogspot.com) on your blogroll, reader, subscriptions, following, bookmarks, etc.

Your browser will be automatically redirected in ten seconds. Thanks and see you there!

June 23, 2009

Misshapen Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

I'm wayy behind. Got lots of posts for you.

I made these cupcakes for a coworkers birthday last month with dulce de leche from my trip to Argentina. They came out kind of misshapen because I overreached and tried to have too much going on. I wanted the cake part to have both melted chocolate chips and a dulce de leche center; however the chocolate and dulce de leche both sank to the bottom, hardened, and stuck to the pan. The crumb was also very crumbly, so the cakes fell to pieces when I tried to remove them from the pan. Hence they were very misshapen and small and sad looking, but no one really seemed to care. Coworkers thought they were delicious anyway. Especially the frosting, which I whipped half a jar of dulce de leche into!

I don't remember the recipe so well anymore, so I'm going to leave it out. Suffice it to say, dulce de leche frosting would go well with any standard vanilla or chocolate cupcake recipe. To make the frosting, combine a lot of butter, a lot of dulce de leche, a little powdered sugar, a little milk, and scant vanilla until the taste and consistency seems right to you.

As for the leftover crumbs and scraps, I formed it into a "cupcake detritus ball" and left it in the fridge for some sinful snacking.

May 18, 2009

Fried Rice with Asparagus and Chicken

I found some leftover brown rice in my fridge and decided to put together a spring inspired fried rice for dinner last night. I diced asparagus to use in place of peas, which are not yet in season, and Jesse grilled up chicken breast because we try to use the grill as much as possible in warm weather. Jesse actually hates Chinese food, so he was a little worried at first, but in the end he declared it was leagues better than takeout fried rice.

Fried Rice with Asparagus and Chicken
1-2 cups leftover brown rice
1 large onion
1/2 lb asparagus
1/2 lb grilled breast
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat wok or pan to medium high and coat with olive oil. Chop onion into large pieces and sautee until translucent and browned. Rinse and dice asparagus and add to the pan. Sautee approximately 5 minutes, until asparagus is slightly softened. Add rice and continue to cook over medium high heat for another 5 minutes to flavor the rice. Meanwhile, shred grilled chicken into small pieces and add to pan. Finally, add soy suace, vinegar, tumeric, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.

May 15, 2009

Cupcake Contest Take 2

Last Monday was the third annual cupcake contest hosted by Brooklyn Kitchen. This year's event featured almost 60 cupcakes, bakers, and testers, packed into Union Pool's backyard.

sister's "Fire Antz" aka spicy chocolate cupcakes

It was impossible to try them all - I think I probably tasted about 20. And I successfully paced myself, limiting my sampling to half or quarter sized bites of the cupcakes, so that I didn't end up with a tummyache at the end of the night like last year.

I didn't win anything again (the competition at this event is always so steep), but I was happy because I got a lot of compliments and my cupcakes were popular enough to have all disappeared by the end of the night. I called them honey babies just because I wanted to come up with some kind of catchy name, but really they have been likened to a great muffin or coffee cake with a light honey spice flavor, topped with amazing frosting. The maple, chopped almonds, and sparkles of sugar are what makes this cupcake sing.

I'm already planning my recipe for next year's contest...I'll definitely be incorporating chocolate.

Honey Babies with Maple Almond Frosting
9 tbsp butter
3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar
heaping 1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
2 tsp bourbon vanilla (bourbon steeped with vanilla beans)
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds (1 cup of almonds ground in the food processor until it resembles coarse flour)
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp bourbon vanilla
6 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
raw turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Butter two 12-muffin tins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in honey, eggs, vanilla and milk.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Beat dry ingredients into wet mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for approximately 15 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.

For frosting, cream butter and powdered sugar. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, milk, and half the chopped almonds. Adjust sugar and butter to desired consistency (my measurements above are approximate). Frost cupcakes, and then sprinkle remaining almonds and a little sugar over top of each. Makes 24 cupcakes. This recipe can easily be cut by a third to make a batch of 12 large cupcakes.

Smoky Vegetarian Crock Pot Baked Beans

After a trip to the southern BBQ joint Blue Smoke, I was craving some more warm, tangy baked beans. I figured it would be easy enough to make in my crock pot. I was also lucky enough to receive a jar of Catskills homemade maple syrup as a gift from Jesse's coworker - I don't know how he made it, but his syrup has a crazy smoky flavor! So it was perfect for whipping up a smoky barbecue sauce to coat the beans. Thanks to the special syrup, this recipe tasted great without any bacon or pork (as baked beans traditionally include), but I think I'd be happy making these vegetarian again even without the benefit of the smoke.

Smoky Vegetarian Crock Pot Baked Beans

2 cups dried beans
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp smoky maple syrup
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
several grinds of pepper

The night before, place dried beans in bowl to soak, filled with water about two inches above the beans.
Whisk together remaining ingredients and reserve in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, drain and rinse beans. Combine beans, barbecue sauce, and 1 1/2 cup of water in crock pot and stir until beans are coated in sauce. Let cook on low approximately 4 hours, turn to high for 2-3 hours, and then turn to low until ready to serve.

April 21, 2009

A New Red Hook Ritual

Once or twice a month Jesse and I delight in taking a shopping trip to Fairway in Red Hook, where we can stock up on bulk goods for cheap, like organic coffee, beans, rice, and so on.

Now we may have found a new ritual to tack onto our Red Hook trips: A stop at Rocky Sullivan's for beer and a snack outside. We'd been to this bar on an assuming corner before and hadn't thought much of it, just a normal working class neighborhood bar. Then I found out about its roof deck, but we weren't able to take advantage of it until the first nice weather hit this weekend. Now we have truly seen the light.

The bar neighbors Sixpoint Brewery, so we were able to get two of our favorite Sixpoint beers, Bengali IPA and Righteous Rye. And Jesse was able to ogle all the Sixpoint kegs lying around. Rocky Sullivan's has a bar menu, but I'm guessing their best food is their brick oven pizza, made fresh to order. We had the margarita pizza, complete with homemade pesto sauce, and it was delish. The crust had a slight buttery flakiness to it, a little like pastry crust, but not too much.

We enjoyed our afternoon snack on their roof deck. We were the only ones up there, and I can't imagine it ever gets too full, so it certainly lives up to its reputation as "serene" I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the hood, although don't tell all your friends because hidden gems are always better when they remain that way!

April 20, 2009

Breakfast Pizza for Dinner!

It's ramp season folks. And what do ramps go with better than bacon and eggs? Nothing!

After reading about Motorino's amazing breakfast pizza which "delivers a beautiful pool of gooey cheese, runny yolk, pancetta drippings, and fruity olive oil", I was inspired to make my own version. The original plan called for goat cheese ricotta, bacon, ramps, and sunnyside eggs, but my sister did the shopping and some of the cooking, so she also added in broccoli raabe for a contrasting bitter bite.

First, you need to make the dough. I really prefer my recipe for pizza with a puffier crust, but out of laziness I went for the thin crust recipe that just requires a whizz in the food processor and a wait in plastic bags in the fridge overnight. It makes six dough balls, so I stuck three in the freezer, to leave us with three personal pies for the three people in my household. About two hours before I wanted to cook dinner, I took the dough out of the fridge to let it warm up.

Next, Lisa fried up a few pieces of bacon and let them drain on paper towels. She poured out most of the bacon fat (to reserve for future use), while leaving enough fat in the pan to sautee the greens.

After preheating the oven as hot as it will go (520 in our case), Lisa finely chopped ramps and broccoli raabe. She sauteed them in bacon fat until softened and then continued to cook covered for another ten minutes until wilted.

Next I assemble the pizzas on cornmeal-dusted baking sheets, slowly building them with crumbles of goat cheese ricotta, bacon bits, wilted greens, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Finally, I broke an egg into the middle and put them into the oven for about 10 minutes until the crust browned on the bottom and the eggs firmed.

Unfortunately, the crust took longer to cook than the eggs, so the yolks had already firmed by the time the pizza was done and alas, there was no runny yolk to coat the pizza in golden flavor when biting into it. But it was still f*in good.

Jesse rued all times he tried to convince me to cook meat or fish for dinner instead, thinking breakfast pizza for dinner sounded lame. Duh! Of course it would be the best thing ever, and once he saw the beautiful pizza and ate it, he realized the error of his ways.

April 17, 2009

The Year of Cabbage

If last winter was the year of kale, then I'd say this winter was the year of cabbage.

It's because last year Garden of Eve kept me stocked with kale all throughout the winter when no one else at the farmers markets had green vegetables. Then this year, I couldn't even find kale regularly. But I could still find cabbage.

Plus this year I first realized how delicious cabbage is when sauteed. Much nicer than in bland braised dishes. Slice it thinly, like you would to make slaw, but then sautee it in olive oil with onions, salt, and pepper, letting the onion and cabbage strips brown a bit over medium heat. Then leave it on low heat covered for about 10 minutes until it wilts a bit. The result is perfectly flavored, tender, but with a nice bite. A great side dish.

Or add it to cooked beans and brown rice with some grated cheese and salsa for flavor, as another version of my "healthy rice and beans", an easy dish that is a Jesse pleaser.

Now that the weather is warming up, hopefully we'll be eating things besides cabbage soon.

April 14, 2009

Scallops with Israeli Couscous and Kale

I sauteed finely chopped kale and onion with onions and garlic, and combined it with simmered Israeli couscous, using the Kitchn's method for cooking this pasta-cum-grain with leafy greens. Then Jesse sauteed scallops in olive oil and herbs de Provence to top it off. Here's what he had to say about it to his friend who gave us the herbs a few months ago:

I used the last of the herbs de Provence you gave me to make seared
scallops with Israeli cous cous and kale and may I humbly say that it
was the closest thing to culinary perfection that I have ever
experienced - in the words of Dr. Seuss "If you never have you
should. These things are fun and fun is good."

March 10, 2009

The Weekend

It was finally warm enough this weekend to walk outside bare legged (!). Makes SUCH a difference.

After a pre-dinner trip to the Split They Skull festival at Mug's for some strong beers, we were drunk and I was feeling lazy, so I convinced Jesse to cook dinner.

He knows how to cook, he just doesn't do it very often. Risotto was one of the first meals we made together. Sausage and carrot is my favorite. If you don't have wine on hand, you can use Budweiser or another light beer, which is what we often do. Jesse done good.

After a bottle of wine, we got even drunker. And then he danced to funk with the dog.