Entries Tagged as 'Guest Posts'

Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

3

15.5.13

bacon fat gingersnaps

I’m a big fan of would-you-rathers.

Chalk it up to my at-times paralyzing indecisiveness, or penchant for the fanciful.  There’s something refreshing and enjoyable about choosing between two completely impossible or painfully awkward alternatives.

Here’s a kicker for you–if you had to choose only one to eat for the rest of your life, would you choose bacon or sausage?

Someone posed that question to me at work today.  Without even pausing to breathe, I answered, “Bacon. How is that even a question?”

(She’s a sausage girl, so needless to say, I think I left her a bit offended.  I stand by my choice.)

bacon fat gingersnaps

I suppose that now would be as good a time as any to talk about my feelings towards meat.  I can remember, with perfect saliency, the first time I bit into a cheeseburger.  I was seventeen.

The meat tasted sharp, rich, slightly metallic and like a bit of a come to Jesus.  Funny thought, coming from the mouth of a vegetarian.

I left that little morsel out.  Until I was seventeen, I was a vegetarian.  For anyone who knows me now, and has had the pleasure of witnessing me order steak frites, rare–this could come as quite a shock.  I more or less avoided most forms of meat (which, when you think about the background I come from maybe a sheer miracle) for the bulk of my childhood.  And one day, at the ripe old age of fourteen, I read Fast Food Nation from cover to cover and finally just put my foot down.  My mother humored me, under the assumption that this would be just a phase.

This was not a phase.

bacon fat gingersnaps

I can’t remember ever actually missing the stuff.  At that point in my life I had just phased meat out, so what was I really missing?

It turns out that my body had some other ideas in mind.  After years of diligent research, careful dieting and copious amounts of iron supplements, I got a pretty direct talking-to from my doctor.  Enough, she said, waving my iron count in my face.  Words like severe anemia and chronic fatigue flew around the room, and after some ardent protest I ceded defeat.

And what was I really missing?  The smell of sizzling bacon, apparently.

That first bite of an In-N-Out cheeseburger felt like a betrayal.  I was angry with myself for giving in, the way so many angsty teenagers can be, and I was livid with my body for failing me.  But it also felt…right.  The meat melted in my mouth, warm against the crisp lettuce and fresh tomato.  And just as soon as I’d started, I just couldn’t stop.

I’d like to say it’s been smooth sailing from that point forward, but let’s be honest.  It took a good week for me to keep any form of animal protein down in my stomach, but I haven’t looked back since.  Instead, I pay attention to what I put into my body, where it came from, how it was raised.  I savor each bite that touches my lips.

And I can answer that would-you-rather honestly.  Bacon, always.

This recipe provides the perfect solution for that excess ton or jar of bacon greases we’ve all accumulated at one point or another.  When Sarah and I first stumbled upon it I think we were equal parts appalled and intrigued.  There isn’t a lick of butter in it, and I can’t saying that miss it.

Seems to beg the question–would you rather?

Recipe after the jump.

Bacon Fat Gingersnapsslightly adapted from Epicurious (more…)

GUEST POST: Humpday Chocolate Cookies

0

24.4.13

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Sous chef Shaeda, here. I’ve been sharing the same mixers and cutting boards with Sarah for a couple of weeks now, and when it came time to whip up some magic in the kitchen I knew exactly what we needed. And how.

It’s just one of those weeks.

There is a sense of heaviness to the air that isn’t normally here this time of year. Winter has been clinging to DC, as of late. The weight of my green wool coat has been replaced by something entirely different, but still present. It’s the feel of a firm palm, gently pressing down onto my shoulders.

It’s spring here, though. Finally.

Nothing is quite the way it’s supposed to be. You know what I mean. The type of week where you long for Friday so much you can taste the anticipation in the back of your mouth. Nothing went quite the way I wanted it to from the moment I opened my eyes on Monday. After an impromptu but much needed trip to the West Coast, jet lag and hours of travel got the best of me. I woke up late, and from that very moment seemed to just escape falling into that weekly rhythm. Left my carefully-packed lunch sitting on the marble counter; neglected to include the address on an itinerary I swore I’d meticulously checked over and over.

After the events in Boston last week, we received an all-too-real reminder of how short and fleeting life is. It’s very easy to get swept up in the day-to-day minutia, to forget that each breath is a gift, not a right. The sudden loss this week of someone dear to me has punctuated that fact to me.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

As a child, I had this habit. When things weren’t particularly going the right way, I would turn into myself. I’m almost certain I wasn’t the first (or only) child to use this as a coping mechanism, but I would close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere wonderful. Some place where the air was fresh and full of hope.

As a adult, I’ve learned to keep my eyes open. Gone is the complacent dreamer of yesterday; she stands tall and proud. I’ve learned to confront my demons head on. If that’s not enough, if I still I feel that weight on my shoulder, I bake.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

When I stepped into the kitchen this week, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I’d left the oven idle for too long. Whenever I feel remotely stressed or glum, I reach for this recipe. This recipe has watched me grow. It’s held my hand through stress, through heartbreak; its watched me blossom from an unsure eighteen and ushered me into the unknown. Over the years, its become my hallelujah, hail mary, and reason to breathe when life decides to give it me a little too hard, to dig just a bit too deep. This is something I can always do right.

Today will be a better day.  On this Wednesday, I hope you’ll join me and give this recipe a shot. The balance of decadent chocolate and coarse salt will give you that extra push to make it to Friday.  Try and limit yourself to eating just one–I dare you.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Humpday Chocolate Cookies, egregiously adapted from Martha Stewart

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick butter
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup flour
1 and 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
2 eggs
12 oz. chocolate chips of your choice
Sea salt for garnish (we used some Parisian grey salt)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and the coarsely-chopped chocolate. Heat in 20 second spurts, stirring well until chocolate is almost completely combined. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.

Combine the sugars, eggs and vanilla extract in the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a whisk, if your arm muscles can manage it) on low speed until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate until just combined, and then mix in dry ingredients. Once the flour mixture has incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the dough. Take care not to crowd the pan, as these puppies will expand. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops glisten and crack. Sprinkle with grey salt while cooling.  Note: you do not want these baked to a crisp. You’ll regret it.

GUEST POST: Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro

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20.3.13

Curry Soup

I sincerely hope that this is the last time I will be cooking soup this winter. Don’t get me wrong, I love soup and I have made countless different batches since the cold weather first hit NYC last fall. My soup making obsession rose to new levels when my dear dad gave me the ultimate Christmas gift: a Cuisinart food processor. (Clearly the way to my heart is through cookware.)

The truth is there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup when it’s cold and dreary outside, and I often find that it is the only thing that will warm me up on a frigid day no matter how many sweaters I pile on.  So while the icy wind was howling outside my window, I flipped through my new favorite cookbook, Meatless by Martha Stewart, and was instantly drawn to this recipe. The balance of spicy curry powder with creamy coconut milk and sweet dried cherries is amazing. Top it off with some fresh cilantro and you have a soup that is complex in flavor and just plain beautiful to look at. Here’s hoping this batch lasts me until the weather gets warm enough to start making my favorite springtime recipes again.

Lentils

Cause wait a second, today is the first day of spring. Oh, that lovely word and all that it conjures. Brooklyn in the spring is a pretty magical place and I highly recommend visiting if you don’t have the pleasure of living here. Before I moved to Brooklyn last summer, I lived in Soho, which — don’t get me wrong — is a charming neighborhood. However, as soon as the temperature rises and people venture outside to catch a glimpse of the sun, the streets get packed with tourists, the sidewalk cafes fill up, and riding your bike comes with the risk being hit by a cab or colliding with a pedestrian.

Brooklyn is a different story. I live in Williamsburg and while it’s true that there are luxury condos going up all around me, there is still some peace here and it’s a perfect place to enjoy the change of seasons. In a couple of weeks, the Brooklyn Flea will open by the waterfront where you can peruse antiques, young designers’ latest wares, and a plethora of delicious artisanal food made by local vendors. Also, unlike the city proper, practically every restaurant has outdoor seating and waiting for a table is rare. I love going to Hotel Delmano to sip on an exquisitely crafted cocktail, or wandering over to the rooftop bar at Berry Park to check out the amazing view of Manhattan, beer in hand.

Chopped Veggies

Veggies Cooking

The best part of living is Brooklyn is ease of biking wherever you want to go. It’s true that the subways are more spread out in Brooklyn, but if you are lucky enough to own a bike, you have the pleasure of being able ride from Williamsburg to Red Hook for crabs and corn hole at Brooklyn Crab in a mere 30 minutes with little traffic to worry about. If craft beer and homemade ice cream sandwiches are more your thing, there is nothing like biking over to Bierkraft where they always have about 20 tasty brews on tap. You can even take one of their awesome subs (and maybe even a growler) to go and enjoy it while soaking up some rays just a few blocks away in Prospect Park.

My friends all know I have an ongoing love affair with Brooklyn and they are probably sick of hearing about it, but I guess the thought of springtime flowers just brings out the romantic side in me. Until then, I will be enjoying this tasty soup and anxiously awaiting sixty-degree weather.

–Kaeli

Soup

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro (adapted from Meatless by Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of canola oil
1 piece (about 2 inches) of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 large shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons of curry powder
course salt
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

 

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, shallot and carrots, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup coconut milk, the water, and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Reserving some cherries for garnish, stir cherries and chopped cilantro into soup and ladle into 4 bowls. Dividing evenly, swirl in remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

 

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