All posts filed under: Dabbling in the Kitch

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Buy Puff Pastry and Avoid a Meltdown

  If there’s one thing that is totally acceptable to buy from the supermarket, it’s puff pastry. The reasons are two-fold. First, it takes a lot of time, patience and skill to laminate dough (folding it with butter to make hundreds of pillowy layers, a process that is just asking for a kitchen meltdown). And the kind from the supermarket always comes out perfectly. It’s the most predictable dough out there. Once it’s thawed (but still very cold), you can do a number of things with puff pastry. Fill it with chocolate and make croissants, roll it with spinach and feta for spanikopita, encase hot dogs for pigs in a blanket. Yesterday, I made a tomato tart.   Here it is: Add the accoutrements (basil + parm).   Print Tomato Tart Author: Ariel Kanter Recipe type: Pretty easy Cuisine: Buttery Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  25 mins Total time:  40 mins Serves: Depends on how much you can eat. I’d say four people.   This recipe was adapted from Saveur’s Herbed Tomato Tart recipe. Instead of cooking the …

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Spaghetti Squash: It’s Not Spaghetti, but It’s Good

The truth: Spaghetti squash is not spaghetti. It doesn’t taste like spaghetti (because it’s a vegetable); the texture isn’t like spaghetti (it’s crunchy). So if you’re looking for the ultimate healthy, gluten-free, low-calorie, eat-a-lot-and-still-be-skinny pasta substitute, this is not it. PS. It doesn’t exist, and if it did, we’d all look like Giselle. But here’s the good news: spaghetti squash is great. It’s easy to cook, mild in flavor and versatile. And last week, I cooked it in three divine ways. Let’s start with how to cook it. Cut it longways, take out the seeds, drizzle it with some olive oil and salt, and throw it in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. That’s it! Then use a fork like this to create spaghetti squash’s characteristic ribbons. Once you have a bowl of these beautiful yellow shreds, you can do just about anything. Now I said spaghetti squash isn’t spaghetti, but you can certainly pair it with Italian flavors. Saute it with some olive oil, crushed tomatoes and basil and top it with a …

Marinating Ribeye

Asian Beef Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Sometimes having a good friend over for dinner can be stressful. You want to impress them (obviously), but you don’t want to be slaving away while they’re sitting on your couch awaiting your latest dating gossip. The trick to really winning the at-home dinner date is having everything pre-prepared so all you need to do is heat and serve. Last week, my friend Maggie was planning on coming to dinner. Maggie is an editor at people.com and is always up on the latest news, gossip, trends—so I knew the meal had to impress. She also isn’t the hugest carb fan, so pasta (my usual go-to) was out of the question. I decided to go with Asian beef tacos with a cabbage slaw. And I made it ALL the day ahead, so when Maggie came over, I just needed to cook the beef, assemble tacos and pour the wine. (Took about 5 minutes tops). This is a quick, do-ahead meal that you can easily prepare without being a slave to your stove. Here’s the meat in marination …

Olympic Eats: Hummus

It has come to my attention this week that I will never be in the Olympics. I hold my knee cartilage too dear for moguls, I slip and fall just looking at ice, and I refuse to sweep my apartment, so curling is just out of the question. But it’s okay. At least I can make a good hummus. Whitney and I were sent some dried organic chickpeas, so these were the little babies I used to the hummus. But they took a little finagling (re: soaking and cooking). To get these little dried chickpeas into the soft beans you’ll find in the can (albeit way less salty), Soak chickpeas in boiling water for 90 minutes. Rinse out the water and then add more, covering them and bring to a simmer for another 90 minutes. When I simmered the beans, I also added bay and some garlic, just for some extra flavor.   In this hummus, I decided to get a little crazy. Here’s what I did: Print Olympic Eats: Hummus Recipe type: hummus   Ingredients …

Cheesy Taco Dip

What We’re Eating: Super Bowl Cheesy Taco Dip

Well it’s just about the end of the first quarter in this year’s Super Bowl. So far, I’m feeling pretty good about things. Don Cheadle is in a commercial, Peyton Manning is looking fine…and I’m eating the most delicious taco dip ever. Isn’t that what the Super Bowl is all about? Finding places to dip your chips? Print What We’re Eating: Super Bowl Cheesy Taco Dip Author: Ariel Kanter Recipe type: Game Day Eats Cuisine: Tex-Mex-Ish   This dip might even taste better tomorrow. Ingredients One half pound of ground meat (I used 80% lean) One packet of taco seasoning 1 jar of mild or medium salsa 2+ cups of cheese (one cup mozz / one cup Monterey Jack) 1 cup sour cream ½ cup frozen corn, thawed 4 scallions, thinly sliced 2 tsp salt Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees In a large bowl, combine salsa, sour cream, thawed corn, half of the cheese, scallions and salt. In a large skillet, brown meat until completely cooked. Then pour off some drippings, add the taco seasoning and splash …

Summer Risotto with Zucchini Ribbons, Corn and Fresh Basil

Oh who doesn’t love risotto? It’s creamy, delicious, filling and well it’s perfect. The main reason why I love risotto so much is because you really can do anything with it. There are so many different additions you can make- different vegetables, different wines- the options are really endless. Yesterday I wanted to make a seasonal risotto, one that is the true epitome of summer. So what comes to mind when it’s summer? Corn, Zucchini and lots of fresh basil. I’ve been noticing this summer that there’s this new fad of making “zucchini ribbons.” I’ve seen them in salads, pastas, with fish, etc. Not that I want to be a huge follower…but UM these zucchini ribbons are such a great idea! They’re delicate but still pack that tender bite that zucchinis are known for. To make them, simply use your vegetable peeler and run it along the zucchini to make fine little “ribbons.”   Ariel’s Summer Risotto 2 cups Arborio Rice 1 sweet onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbs butter 2 tbs basil …

A Light Summer Potato Salad

SOME people would call me a picky eater. I have to admit I do tend to stray away from certain grotesque foods. But other than that, I really do try to keep an open mind. The greatest of the “grotesque foods” is by far mayo. It’s white, gloppy, gooey, fattening and just makes everything creamy in all the wrong sort of ways. I’m sure about 75% of people in this world will disagree with me-including all of my closest friends and boyfriend. But for the lucky 25% of you who agree, this is an excellent potato salad recipe sans mayo and all the yuckiness it embodies, avec lots of flavor.   I found this recipe in Bon Appetite magazine and was instantly intrigued. To be honest, I’ve never had potato salad before because said enemy, mayo, was always involved. But this recipe utilized other flavor enhancers like lemon juice, herbs and spices, and even bacon. So goodbye white, messy potato salad. Hello potato + salad = YUM. Potato Salad with Rosemary, Lemon and Bacon Adapted …

Kosher Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

I came home today and craved my favorite dish from my favorite Chinese restaurant. In Newton, there’s an amazing posh Chinese place called Bernard’s. Bernard’s is elegant and serves true Chinese cuisine. The best dish that they serve is that Chicken with Black Bean Sauce. It is served in a piping hot stone pot, almost bubbling over with black bean sauce and tender chicken. It is perfect over rice or noodles. Anyway, I came home and really wanted this. Unfortunately that would cost me a train ride, a cab ride and probably 20 dollars to get to Boston and actually eat the meal. Since that’s obviously not feasible, I decided to make it myself. Kosher Chicken and Ramen with Black Bean Sauce Chicken 2 pounds chicken breast, cut up into bite sized pieces or strips 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch to cover chicken 1/2 tablespoon chinese 5 spices mix Ramen Buy ramen noodles at your grocery store and prepare as directed on the package Black Bean Sauce 2 tablespoons of black bean sauce from the jar 1 …

Classy Eggplant Parmigiana

Today I want to talk eggplant parmesan. This is not eggplant parm that you pick up at the next door hoagie place. It is not too dry or too greasy. It is not deep fried in a vat of day old oil. It is also not covered in any sort of fake, Kraft sliver of orange cheese. This is the elegant, panko coated, Southern Italian quality eggplant parmigiana. Eggplant parmesan is really a vegetarian’s utopia. It’s like an herbivore version of a Peter Luger steak.  Nothing is better than a sweet eggplant, lightly breaded and fried then smothered with cheese and sauce. The best part is definitely when you bite into the eggplant and there’s still a little crunch from the crusty breading. Ariel’s First Red Sauce 1 carton of sweet cherry tomatoes (about 20) 1 large can skinned and crushed tomatoes with the juice 1 large shallot (or two small) 4 cloves garlic sprinkle of sugar basil and parsley 2 teaspoons tomato paste 2 teaspoons cream salt and pepper to taste olive oil I …

Canned Soup: from Blah to Voila!

This is the enemy… Canned soup takes about 5 minutes to cook. The hardest part is probably opening the can. Just open, pour and heat. You don’t even need to add water anymore. The convenience of the soup in a can is extraordinary. Even for clean up- you just have to wash one dish. However, canned soup has some pretty serious problems. Among those are bland broth, way too much salt, mushy vegetables, and slick, slide down your throat noodles. You all know what I’m talking about. I also feel like every canned soup tastes the same. Especially when you get to the lighter, less chunky, low sodium, low fat kinds. Today I want to discuss some ways to remedy some problems that you find from canned soup because let’s face it, not many people have time to sit by the stove waiting for ham hocks to release their delicate pork flavor into a mix of freshly made chicken stock and tender vegetables. The thing is that I think we have all forgotten how soup …