Budget Archive

Thursday, April 8, 2010

shakshuka

shakshuka

There are a lot of reasons to make shakshuka, an Israeli Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce: It sounds like the name of a comic book hero. Or some kind of fierce, long-forgotten martial art. Or perhaps something that said comic book hero would yell as they practiced this elaborate martial art, mid-leap with their fist in the air.

peppers, garlic, onion and tomatoes
garlic, chiles and onion

Or you could make it because when I talked about making eggs in tomato sauce a while back a large handful of comments were along the lines of “oh, this sounds like shakshuka” and “I think you would love shakshuka” and “you really should make shakshuka” and you may have shrugged and forgotten about it until you finally had it at a café one day and whoa it turns out you really would like shakshuka!

peppers and onions

Continued after the jump »

Friday, February 5, 2010

ginger fried rice

fried egg on ginger fried rice

According to my calendar — the one I believe I just looked at for the first time since last September, when someone made my life go all date- and timeless — the Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day this year. In New York at least, the Lunar New Year is an excuse to eat egregious amounts of fried rice, spare ribs and to make your way through Chinatown streets over piles of strewn red paper* from firecrackers. Valentine’s Day, however, is dominated by French food because what could be more romantic than copious amounts of wine, butter, cheese, steak and chocolate?

brown jasmine ricejasmine ricegarlic, ginger and leeksbrowning the ginger and garlicfried ginger and garlic, crunchy bitsfrying an egg

Or, you could stay in and have a little of both. That’s what this ginger fried recipe is to me, a classic Chinese dish, clearly reinterpreted by a French hand. For one, it has leeks, which although used in both Chinese and French cooking, I can’t say I’ve ever seen them caramelized for fried rice. Second, egg isn’t scrambled into the dish, but pulled out, fried whole and laid on top of the rice. There are other deconstructions too: the ginger and garlic are fried until crisp and scattered over the dish, like bacon bits from the Far East, rather than tucked within. And rather than cooking the rice in gobs of soy sauce and sesame oil, both are conservatively drizzled on top at the end like droplets of a pan sauce.

cooking the leeks

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tomato sauce with onion and butter

tomato sauce with butter and onion

I could no longer resist this sauce, and frankly, I don’t know why I even tried to: food bloggers obsess over it, and they’re not a bad lot to base a recipe selection upon. Adam of Amateur Gourmet fell for it five years ago. Molly at Orangette raved about it over two years ago, with a bonus approval marking from Luisa at Wednesday Chef. Then Rachel Eats fawned over it too, and Rachel, you see, she lives in Rome right now — I want to be in Rome right now — Rome, where you can get authentic, perfect tomato sauce a zillion places every single day. And yet she stayed in and made this one. That sealed the deal.

tomatoes + onion + butter
telephone cord pasta

So what is it with this sauce that it moves people to essays over it, tossing about exclamations like “brilliant!” and “va-va-voom” and promises that “something almost magical happens”? Is it garlic, a slip of red pepper flakes, a glug of red wine or a base of mulched carrots, onion and celery, as so many of us swear by in our best sauce efforts? Is it a spoonful of tomato paste or a pinch of sugar? Is it the best olive oil money can buy? It is none of these things, not a single one: It is butter. And an halved onion, cooked slowly as the sauce plops and glurps on the stove, then discarded when it is done.

love these tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

black bean soup with toasted cumin cream

So, I told you about the brisket. Or, the way we talk about it, thhhuuuuh brisssssket, it’s deliciousness making our syllables stretch out melodramatically. We pulled it into tacos with slaw and pickled onions and it was a great end to a great year. But I bet I know what you’ve been wondering since then, “But no appetizer?” Well, let thie question vex your brain no longer: we had soup. (Jacob, however, got into the margaritas. Again.)

dried black beans
red onions

My friend Jocelyn made a wonderful black bean soup and she topped it with a toasted cumin seed crema and I just about died, the crema was so good. I mean, the soup was delicious but the crema was one of those toppings that was in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamist, smokiest accent to a spicy, hearty soup. Since I’ve been slow cooker obsessed since that very day, I vowed to make a version entirely in my new BFF, and to top it with that toasted cumin seed cream. Frankly, the soup is just an excuse to get to it.

onions, beans, peppers and garlic

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, May 17, 2009

asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta

asparagus goat cheese pasta

A couple weeks ago, I had a fantastic warm asparagus salad at a nearby restaurant, one I immediately swore I’d make at home. It had segments of white and green asparagus tossed with goat cheese and a tarragon and lemony mint vinaigrette and it was piled on a bed of red endive, my favorite. It was stunning. It was delicious. Alas, this is not it. What a tease I am, right?

giant spiral pasta

After trying and failing to find all three elements — the green asparagus, white asparagus and the red endive — for the next two weeks, I gave up. Oh, and sure, you could use all green asparagus and regular pale endive, but you’ve met me, right? I’m a pain in the butt and without the visual, it was going to be no fun at all for me. It would not do.

asparagus

Continued after the jump »