Category Archives: Cooking

Neighborhood Discoveries

Condo de Fast One is close to an Orthodox/Hasidic Jewish enclave in northern New Jersey. On (late) Sunday morning, S. and I decided to take a walk for some bagels.

We first walked to a Jewish bakery I’d seen, which smelled fantastic and warrants a future return, but yielded no bagels. Thankfully, there was a kosher bagel shop on the walk home. S. felt a bit sacreligious with her naked, sleeveless arms, and I even felt like I was out of place. However, they had whole wheat everything bagels, so we will definitely be back, despite the $1.00 per bagel price.

We also needed eggs, so we walked into a local “supermarket”. Turns out it is primarily a Spanish market, complete with Spanish-only signs in the meat department. What a treat! I picked up fresh ingredients for sofrito, including ajicito dulces peppers and tomatilloes. I wouldn’t know about sofrito if it wasn’t for Daisy; it’s a sauce easily made in the food processor, and leftovers freeze really well into individual ice cube trays. It was great mixed with some pinto beans to make refried beans to place into tortillas. We also grabbed queso fresco from the meat/deli counter, since S. is fluent in Spanish.

S. also mentioned she saw an Asian market nearby, so we now have at least three cultural food experiences within a few minutes’ walk of our new home!

Dinner – Eggplant, tofu, and tomato stacks

Ah, the joys of working from home. Getting up later. No worries about commuting, train delays, annoying people, and social interaction. Having a beer with lunch that you made, on your own, quiet deck. One (by which I mean me) could easily get accustomed to that lifestyle, but that’s another show (cue Good Eats theme).

Yesterday is also CSA day, where our CSA farmer delivers the weekly goods to the pick-up location. It was a treat for me to go (after driving by three times till i actually recognized the place) and pick out our items for the week – onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, fennel, sweet corn, haricots verts, and parsley – without having to worry about who’s behind me, or if they weren’t fresh.

with this newfound bounty, and a container of Trader Joe’s extra-firm tofu, i made the following:

  1. took the tofu out of the container, drained off all the water, then wrapped in paper towels and covered with a brick wrapped in aluminum foil to remove most of the liquid.
  2. In a 12″ saute pan, sauteed an onion, then added one of the peppers, cut into rounds (or as round as peppers get).
  3. Added the sliced eggplant to the pan, and cooked until brown on both sides.
  4. Note that each layer gets its own sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper.
  5. while this was happening, i sliced the two tomatoes (small-to-medium sized) into rounds, about 1/2 an inch thick.
  6. I also stuck mini fresh mozzarella balls in the freezer to harden, so they’re easier to slice.
  7. at this point, i placed some balsamic vinaigrette in a non-stick saucier to simmer and reduce to a sauce.
  8. when the onions, eggplant, and tofu were done, i removed them from the pan. i then added some corn oil to the pan, and fried the tofu on both sides.
  9. the tofu became a base for two separate stacks. i placed the biggest slices of tomato on top of the tofu, then stacked in the following order:
  10. basil leaves (from S’s garden), mozzarella, eggplant, pepper. i then repeated until everything was used up. The tomato only yielded eight slices, so there were two stacks on each plate.
  11. i then topped with the remaining tofu, and drizzled the balsamic reduction over it.

a great summer meal, which could easily be made vegan by eliminating the cheese.

for dessert, we had corn on the cob on our deck. đŸ™‚

Lunch, style

So after eating like crap for most of July 4th weekend, i decided on something healthy for dinner last night: Big salad with lettuce S. grew on our deck, trader joe’s soybeans (edamame, unshelled), freshly roasted red pepper, and vine-ripened tomatoes. I made a quick honey-mustard vinaigrette, and with the leftover dressing, made egg salad, using the dressing in place of mayonnaise. I added Penzey’s dried dill (the undisputed king of dried herbs and spices), blanched red onion (because S. doesn’t like raw onion) and garlic scapes (from our CSA farm share), and some more tomato.

Since it’s Tuesday Greenmarket day here in the City, i bought wild arugula, italian flat leaf parsley, and a rosemary focaccia roll from Au Bon Pain. Google led me astray with local bakeries (the closest is now a deli…), so i had to settle for ABP across the street.


Now playing: Rush – Subdivisions
via FoxyTunes

Obligatory George Carlin post.

What i liked about Carlin was that he used words as humor. The infamous “7 dirty words” bit was only the tip of the iceberg. his intelligence carried through to his comedy, and he wasn’t afraid to use and exploit big words. this is why i admired George Carlin. I’d say I hope he rests in peace, but he wasn’t very religious, so i will just say thank you and I hope he passed painlessly.

poT fehC

i am not really one for reality shows. Or at least that’s what i used to think in the genre’s infancy. I still don’t watch American Idol, So you think you can [insert verb here], or, for chrissake, Shear Genius, the show about… haircutters?! But I find myself intrigued by men fishing for crab in Alaska.

However, cooking “reality” is my weakness. I faithfully watched Next Food Network Star (how’s that working out for you, gay winners from season 1?), Hell’s Kitchen (with less fervor this year than in seasons past), and the granddaddy, Top Chef. HK this season really suffers, and I’m not sure if it’s because the “chefs” are just the suck this year (holy crap, that Matt guy looked like he was going to cry in every episode), or if they changed the show enough to just focus on Gordon Ramsay yelling about stupid shit. Top Chef is my favorite, probably because the “cheftestants” can actually cook. I was completely sucked in this year. It didn’t help that the eventual winner, Stephanie, is a little freakin’ hottie. Unfortunately, she’s not yet approved my Facebook friend request.