Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jazzing up the comfort food

I love the tuna tuna melt. Up until recently, my favorite presentation of such was open-faced on top of an English muffin. For a long time, I was convinced that swiss was the perfect topping, but I have branched out.

Because of the new job, I spend a fair amount of time in Grand Central Terminal. Knowing they have a captive audience waiting for the trains, the powers that be have installed a metric ton of fine shopping, including Grand Central Market.

Grand Central Market has some amazing things, and they've pulled in some of the best food purveyors in the city. Elizabar's Farm to Table, Zaro's bakery (cupcakes!) and Murray's Cheese.

Murray's is new to me as of last year. My friend Pat introduced me when we were in the Village to see a couple of Hitchcock movies at Film Forum. Oh my oh my, the chacuterie. . .

This week I came home with some asiago pressato, a young cheese that's creamy with a tiny bit of a bite to it. I also bought Nexx something runny for Nexx with a name that escapes me.

I still adore my English muffins (crumpets are also quite good), but I need to eat more vegetables. I forget where I saw this, but instead of using bread, I have been stuffing the tuna salad into bell peppers and melting the cheese on top. It's a great way to experiment with flavors, the peppers add a crunch to the experience.

What's your ideal tuna melt?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Not dead yet

Hi everyone, I know it's been a while. There have been a lot of changes at Chez Kate and to my regret, the cooking has been cut down to weekends and holidays.

I have a new day job. It's utterly wonderful and comes with a ninety-minute commute. By the time I get home, I'm not up for doing much more than pouring a bowl of Cheerios (they help the cholesterol level. Oatmeal is for cookies).

But it's now warm and Austin the minimalist got his mitts on a huge piece of salmon. While I have been known as the Person Who Makes Salads (tm), I decided to break out of the box and make something with potatoes. The salmon was going to be grilled with a sesame ginger glaze, so I needed something that would match.

Kitchen Inferno had the perfect solution. Roast potatoes with a Thai-chile vinaigrette. There was a fair amount of chopping to do, but rather worth it. Here's our ingredient list:

1.5 pounds small red potatoes, quartered. (I actually used small Yukon, and they came out with a perfect texture.

Canola oil (since I had some help from my dear Nexx, we ended up with rice bran oil. It was light with a tiny hint of nuttiness. Not cheap enough to use every day, unfortuately)

For the vinaigrette:

.25 cup rice wine vinegar
2 T minced fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced 
2 T sesame oil
3/4 cup canola oil (see rice bran oil above)
2 t minced fresh Thai chiles
2 T minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Black sesame seeds, green onions and fresh cilantro for garnishing.

I had to do a fair amount of tweaking for this recipe. There were five of us for dinner and two of us don't have my love for things hot. So while I expanded the recipe, I added some poblanos to mellow out the dressing a bit. I ran a bit short on rice vinegar, so I ended up adding more peppers to add to the acid.

Lightly coat the potatoes with canola oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and tender.

I roasted for about 45, stirring once to get an even roast. These are the best roasting potatoes I've worked with. I shall remember this.
While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. While the potatoes are warm, toss with viniagrette. Top with black sesame seeds, green onions and fresh cilantro.

I love the way these came out. I would not recommend making the viniagrette too far in advance they way you might with some recipes. This took on a little bit of a burn from the peppers, but not too much. I also chopped a few extra peppers for folks to use as a garnish.

There were no leftovers, I consider that a success. I think this dressing will also work on cucumbers and plan to try it on a few other things.

Thanks for reading. I have not abandoned the blog and will try to be here a little more often.