Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Virginia, plus Indian dinner

instead of the usual visit to the folks in CT, this year I went to Virginia with Priya for Thanksgiving at her parents' home.

we had a fairly nontraditional but still delicious Thanksgiving, which I unfortunately did not photograph. On the following evening, Priya's mom made Indian dinner (and--best of all--showed us how to make it!).

we had beef seekh kebabs (which Priya's dad helped me make), sarson ki saag (spinach and mustard greens, with garlic-onion chaunk), aloo pyaaz (ptoatoes and onions), and makki ki roti (which we made ourselves, from corn flour).

on the side was also a bowl of big chunks of gur (jaggery), which we ate with buttered roti. I also had a glass of buttermilk with cumin and mint and salt, which I did not especially take to.

Priya's mom walked me through the roti-making steps, so we should be able to have rotis of our own soon!

I wish I had taken more photos...for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, we had halwa (kind of like a porridge with raisins, pistachios, etc.) and aloo tikkia (spicy pan-fried potato cakes). for the next morning's breakfast, we had poha (which Priya has made for me before, but her mom's was even spicier, which of course I liked). Thanksgiving itself was American-style ham chicken rolls, baked stuffing and mashed potatoes, toasted-almond green beans, and Brussels sprouts browned in guanciale fat (which Priya and I kind of pushed on everyone else, and I think they all liked it--Priya's dad even asked for more).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup with a side salad of Bibb lettuce, pea shoots, toasted walnuts, and maple viniagrette.

really easy to make--I just used chicken stock I made earlier in the week, roasted butternut squash, sauteed some onions, and pureed it all together. no dairy.

then a couple of days ago, we made a second version, with a vegetable stock we made, and some coconut milk instead of some of the broth. plus some curry powder. still good, but not as good as the chicken broth one.

Monday, November 16, 2009


for her birthday (in January, I know, but things came up...!), I got Priya a cooking class at ICE. we chose pizza-making! from 6-10 on a Friday night, we assembled in an ICE kitchen and made pizzas.

it was like a grown-up play-date thing. we'd spill and assistants would clean it. we'd screw up and they'd step in and fix it. many of our classmates were high-heeled Manhattanites who didn't seem especially interested in knowing how to make dough from scratch, and they took off at 8:30 and seemed shocked that we stayed. we were the last two there--for the last hour, just us and the cooks! took home a ton of stuff (11 pizzas, 13 balls of dough, huge containers of sauce, ricotta, gorgonzola, prosciutto, pancetta, and more...)

anyway, we don't have pictures of all 11 of our pizzas, but here are three:

focaccia with potatoes, bacon, rosemary...

goat cheese with caramelized onions, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms...

pepperoni, asparagus, fresh mozzerella...

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Orleans

went to NOLA for a conference. learned about teaching graphic novels, walked around Frenchmen & (ugh) the Quarter, but mostly ate.

debris and egg biscuit at Mother's:
American-cheese grits on the side, but nothing special.

for dinner on Friday, we went to Emeril's.

Octopus bruschetta:

Spicy Cajun/Portagee calamari:

Fried baby artichokes:

Double-cut pork chop with tamarind glaze and green chile mole sauce:

Clam and shrimp carbonara bucatini with pancetta and tobiko:

Cornmeal-crusted scallops and oysters:

Sticky toffee bread pudding:

amazing banana cream pie:

Beignets and frozen coffee slush at Cafe du Monde:

Muffuletta from Central Market (even splitting one, Sowiski and I couldn't finish it):

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Garlic fried chicken at Congee Village

PD day for Election Day today, and Tiffany suggested we try Congee Village's special fried chicken, which was recently written up in the Times.

I'll reproduce their description here:

At Congee Village, Mr. Yee and the chef Yong Quan Yang have spent years developing their recipe, which now involves rubbing a whole chicken with white vinegar and malt syrup; seasoning the inside of the bird -- this, Mr. Yee says, is essential -- with five-spice powder, poultry seasoning, ginger and garlic; then hanging it in front of a fan to dry the skin (as is done for Peking duck), for about five hours. Then it's deep-fried whole, while a glaze of sugar, Thai fish sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and soy sauce is combined with slices of deep-fried garlic. The whole bird is hacked into pieces and the garlic glaze poured on top, where it slides off the crisp skin and saturates the meat.

After frightening Lauren & co. with it for awhile, Stan ate the head.

delicious, delicious salty garlicky chicken. we had some vegetables and noodles on the side, but it all kind of faded into the dimness next to the chicken. we ordered 1.5 chickens for 5 people and, with the veg & noodle dishes, paid about $10-$11 each. not bad!