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Meals In Minutes | Gourmet Gastronomer

Meals In Minutes

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Sunday Brunch: Popovers

There is a certain charm to something absurdly easy and impressive. That sort of thing that you can be known for whipping up on a Sunday morning to impress your friends who don't cook, and how no idea that it takes no talent at all. This thing is called a popover. It is delicious.

For popovers:

1 Tb oil or melted butter, plus more for greasing muffin pan
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour

For serving:
Jam, butter, honey, etc.

Heat oven to 425. Put the pan into the oven to heat while mixing the batter.

Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl until inportated. Add the flour little by little, making sure batter is smooth.

Remove pan or popover tin from oven (with care). Fill each cup 1/2 way.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.  The popovers should be golden brown and puffed up.

Makes 10-12, depending on tin.

Potatoes with White Wine and Paprika

This isn't even really a recipe, but it's delicious, and deserves to be spread around. My roommate Shayla has lately gotten me into filet mignon. The grocery store near our house will cut it to order, which sort of evens out the rediculous prices, becuase you can ask for a piece just the right size. A little salt and pepper and a good sear is all that they need. And, of course, a side.

I love me a boiled potato. You may have noticed. They are creamy and simple and good, and can take a range of flavors. This one is perfect because it works warm, or you can prepare it a day ahead and take it as a picnic or lunch. It works for one or ten. What more could you want, really?

For Potatoes:

Good quality potatoes, think four small or two medium per person
A dry white wine
Good, fruity olive oil
Hot paprika
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
Scallions, about 1/2-1 per portion

Set potatoes to boil in well-salted water. While they are boiling, chop the white and light green parts of the scallions in small rounds. When the potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork, drain and quickly spalsh with white wine. (Measurements are hard here--1 tablespoon or a bit more per portion? Start with less. You can always add). Follow with a glug of olive oil (again, you can always add more). Sprinkle with 1/3 teaspoon of paprika per portion, or more to taste. Add salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and add more as needed. Eat, cold, hot, or standing.

Sandwich for dinner, s'il vous plait.

 

Every now and then, you just get a yen for something. My housemate Shayla and I were walking through Propect Park after work today, which was shady and damp and beautiful in that rainy day way. We got lost for a while in the trees, taking dead-end paths by the lake, and suddenly she said "I just got the strongest craving for a tuna sandwich."

Odd, perhaps, but that reminded me of the sandwiches you get in Paris, simple baguettes with tuna and egg that hit the spot. And the dinner was on.

This can be made for one, or a group, and adjusted as needed (as usual!). Similarly, good ingredients go a long way, because you really taste what goes in there. A leaf of lettuce would work nicely. You could leave out the tomatoes, or the anchovies. You might add a cucumber, or put it on a roll instead, and make a pan bagnat. The world is your oyster.

 

Here's a rough outline:

1/4-1/3 of a baguette

1 egg per person, hard boiled

1/3-1/2 a can tuna, preferably of good quality, packed in olive oil

2-4 anchovy fillets, optional

2-4 black olives (nicoise or kalamata)

good mustard

good mayonaise.

veggies of choice

 

I like to toast the bread slightly, until still soft in the middle but a little crunchy outside. You can toast it whole, and then cut all the way or only part way through the baguette--in the latter situation, open it like a book to fill it. Spread mayonaise on one side, mustard on the other, then add tuna, flaked in big chunks. Put the slices of anchovies if using, then the egg. Add desired veggies, then the olive, sliced or whole, in a little line.

Add a simple, lightly dressed salad, and there you go. Bon appetite.

Fried Matzo: Jewish French Toast

When I was growing up, my dad used to make me breakfast in the morning. We had all sorts of inventions: Hotdogs and Eggs, Fried Salami, Potato Chip Omelettes, and my favorite: Fried Matzo. This is a fairly simple recipe which my grandmother passed along to my father, who in turn taught me. It's supposedly an old Jewish standard, but I've never seen anyone else make it outside of our family. The recipe is similar to French Toast, except here, the matzo is first softened with hot water in order to be able to soak up the eggs. Here's what you'll need to make a large serving of this delicious and easy recipe:

 

-4 sheets Matzo

-2 eggs, scrambled

-1/2 cup hot water

-1 tbsp vegetable oil

-salt

-butter and jam for topping (I recommend blackberry, boysenberry, loganberry, or lingonberry jam for best results.)

 

To make:

-break your matzo sheets into bite sized pieces (should be about 2” x 1”)

-place broken matzo into a bowl and pour hot water over matzo pieces, stirring to insure every piece soaks up some water

-pour scrambled egg over matzo and mix well

-heat a large, nonstick frying pan and add cooking oil

-pour matzo and egg mixture into pan, spreading out evenly

-cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until bottom is cooked and beginning to crisp (but be careful not to burn!)

-flip and repeat process for the other side until every piece is thoroughly cooked

-remove from heat and serve lightly salted with jam and butter

Got Rice?

fried riceWhenever I prepare rice, I tend to make more than I need. It's great to have a tupperware full of white or brown rice in my fridge, and my favorite thing to do with it is throw it in a pan and cook up some fried rice.

Creole Okra with Shrimp from Cooking Up A Storm

okratexture This is a recipe from Cooking Up A Storm, a new cookbook compiled by the food editors of the New Orleans Times Picayune. The cookbook is great: it's made up of recipes requested by readers of the Times Picayune, attempting to gather up the beloved New Orleans recipes that had been lost to the storm or simply lost to history.

How to Make Bhindi Masala: Okra Gone Indian Style

Bhindi masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes. Okra, often maligned in American cuisine, is transformed by the addition of Indian spices into as delicious a vegetable as can be imagined. I ate bhindi masala all across India and became quite a connoisseur: I realized, upon my return to the USA, that I was simply going to have to learn to make it myself. Which I did. And now I will tell you. This is a very simple bhindi masala, a rather half-assed variant on a dish that can get very tasty and rich indeed.

Quesadillas

My basic quesadilla recipe is as follows: - Get pan on medium-high heat - grab a tortilla, and butter one side - throw tortilla on pan, while you prep everything else - get your cheddar cheese grated - turn down heat to medium once pan warms up, flip tortilla after a minute or so (once pan is warm, successive tortillas need less time) - flip tortilla again once it is soft - cheese goes on one half of tortilla, and close it - make sure you have your next tortilla buttered - flip quesadilla as needed to melt cheese - La Victoria green taco sauce goes in the middle once its done - at this point i

Chickpea Salad, Fit for a Pocket

chickpea pita I recently moved to New York City. This means, among other things, that the budget has tightened up. I take my lunch to work, and of late it has been various variations on an old standard—hummus and pita. I had hummus and pita plain, with arugula, pita and sautéed broccoli rabe, pita, hummus, and roasted vegetables. My office sits two blocks from Union Square, the home of the best greenmarket in the city.
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