Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

If You Don’t Fork It, It might Explode: A Guest Blog by Catherine

Monday, April 7th, 2008


I have many favorite culinary creations from the Midwestern region of the USA, but there is one in particular I’d like to share on Homer’s behalf, and in honor of its original creator: my Grandma Betty. This delicious dish is the baked potato.

Tomorrow is Grandma Betty’s 76th birthday, and after many, many years of cooking for eight (4 boys, 4 girls) children, and now their own children, she is still going strong in the kitchen. Among many delights, she makes the best baked potato. This potato satisfies the most hearty of Minnesotan appetites: my Grandpa Phil, who has never met a carbohydrate he didn’t like, and consequently eat.

Homer and I re-created this trademark spud tonight with great success; here is the result:


Yum. When baking a potato, Homer says it must be known that during baking “if you don’t fork it, it might explode.” So spear it with a fork before popping it in the oven, for Pete’s sake.

It also must be said that what makes a baked potato different from a french fry (besides the baking and frying) is the garnish (garnishes, garnishi?) I think I can speak for Betty and Homer when I say they make up about 50-75% of the delectibility. Of course you can improvise, but these are our top choices:

1. Butter (as much as you want, and it provides the base flavor)

2. Cheddar cheese (again, as much as you want, but I would use caution, as the more distinct flavor might overpower the potato itself)

3. One dollop of sour cream

4. Chopped chives (these are crucial: they provide both a contrast in color and flavor to the aforementioned dairy products)

That’s it. More to come on the Midwestern interpretation of the salad.


Friday, January 18th, 2008

My sister, Joplin, invites me to start the new year with a delicious ancient Jewish feast–cholent. Cholent is a slow cooked stew of meat, vegetables and grains. The whole meal is cooked in one pot which should sit in the oven at a low heat for at least 8 hours. Joplin explains to me how back in the day, people would bring their pots with uncooked cholent to their local baker (who kept the oven running all the time) on Friday night and pick it up the next day for eating. The recipes for cholent vary; Joplin’s cholent contains beef, potatoes, carrots, kasha, wheat berries, chickpeas, kidney beans and whole eggs in their shell. This is an extremely delicious feast. The meat is falling off the bone and vegetables and grains are perfect. More cholent please!


Toby’s Tomato Sauce

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Hello old friends, I want to apologize for the lack of blogging — I have been on vacation. Today’s subject is Toby’s pasta sauce. Toby, who is slightly famous around these parts, makes a killer tomato sauce. He has been perfecting this for about a decade now and it just keeps getting better. He starts with a mirepoix, which is a french name for a combination of minced onions, celery and carrots (he doesn’t it call it this, but this seems to be what it is). He sautes this in olive oil, and then adds canned tomatoes. While letting the tomatoes reduce into a perfect sauce, he gets creative. One of his signature tricks is adding a large piece of the rind of parmesan cheese. I happen to have some marinated artichoke hearts that have been ground up in my fridge, so he adds that. And at the end, he adds some prosciuotto and fresh basil. He may add some other things to this sauce as well, I am not quite sure. Whatever he adds, his sauce is consistently some of the best damn sauce around. 



Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

When Hanukah time comes around, my mom makes latkes — also known as potato pancakes. This year, the latkes are accompanied by a fresh green salad and a delicious brisket. The latkes, however, are the main event. They are super crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. I brave to say that these are some of the best latkes ever. We eat them with home-made apple sauce and sour cream, both of which compliment the pancake very nicely. My mom, Marjory, says the trick is to add a little seltzer to the recipe in order to lighten them up. Here is the recipe:

2 cups shredded potatoes

1 egg

1 and 1/2 tablespoon flour

1 and 1/2 tablespoon grated onion

1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt

A bit of seltzer

First you must put the shredded potatoes in paper towels and roll them up and squeeze them to get all the juice that you can out of the potatoes. Then mix all the ingredients and save the seltzer for the end. It should fizz up a bit when you a the seltzer. Next, form little pancakes and fry them in about 1/4 inch of canola oil until golden brown on each side. My move usually expands this recipe to about 10 cups of shredded potatoes to serve 7 hungry people.



Wednesday, November 28th, 2007


 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday simply because I love this meal so much. I don’t have much to say about my Thanksgiving because it is pretty much by the book. Instead, I present a series of pictures. On top in the featured position is  my personal favorite — sweet potatoes topped with toasted marshmellows. I made the cranberry sauce this year; you can see the little red delights cooking down in the pan. Thats my Dad cutting Turkey. And finally the meal on a plate. Turkey is good, but my favorite is all the sides.


Ham and Eggs at Home

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The first proper meal I enjoy back in the States is breakfast. And what is better than a homemade breakfast? Today I dig into my small but solid repertoire to make an old time classic — ham and eggs. My method: Put some butter in a small pan over medium heat. Let the butter melt and heat up and place some sliced ham in the pan. Let the ham sizzle and brown a little (it will start to smell really good). Flip the ham over and then crack 2 eggs over the ham making sure the the yokes don’t break. Cover the pan and let the eggs cook until there is a thin layer of whiteness over the yolk (3 or 4 minutes). Now consume. Because this dish is so simple, the ingredients have to be good. I use preservative free honey ham from Staubitz (a really good butcher on Smith street, off Warren in Cobble Hill, brooklyn) and local farm fresh eggs.