Freezer Friendly Archive

Monday, February 1, 2010

chana masala

chana masala

My latest snap of cravings for Indian food hit a couple weeks ago, and because I haven’t learned anything over my two stints in the East Village, we ordered in from a restaurant on 6th Street and received puddles of oily, listless and weakly spiced curries that we dragged our way through only to be rewarded with bellyaches. Also, regret. I have an archive of Indian recipes I make several times a year, that I crave like clockwork as soon as we hit a cold snap and never disappoint, a cabinet full of robust rust and mustard-colored powders and seeds and yet I let someone else put lackluster chana masala in our bellies.

finely chopped onion
canned whole tomatoes

I’ve made a slew of chana masalas — a Northern Indian chickpea stew with tomatoes — but none have made their way to you because while they’ve all been edible, with bowls licked clean as there are exactly no intersections of chickpeas and tomatoes that I won’t gobble down, I had yet to find The One. Many were closer to a spiced tomato sauce with chickpeas in it; few had the spice assault I was looking for and none had that thing, a sour note, you find in great Indian food but is more elusive to American home cooks with a curry habit.

a mutt of spices

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 2, 2010

southwestern pulled brisket

southwestern pulled brisket

I had the very best New Years Eve meal, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. But first, I must scroll back to tell you my favorite kind of story, one about what an idiot I am. Yes, another one.

Nearly five years ago, we received a slow-cooker as a wedding gift. I looked at it with suspicion, determined it squarely in the realm of 1970s housewives and those that still cooked like them, and stuffed it, still-boxed, in the far reaches of a closet. In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, I started a home cooking site and not a month went by that a person didn’t innocently ask if I have any good slow-cooker recipes and I’d pfft back, “Meh, not my thing.” In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, we have moved twice, each time taking this still-boxed machine with us, and stuffing it in another closet.

pulling the brisket

And this week, I unpacked it. At 11 p.m. on December 30th, I unwrapped a piece of brisket nearly the size of my baby, browned it in a pan, laid it in the stoneware liner, threw in some onions, a pile of spices, cups of tomatoes and water on top, turned it to low, and at 9 o’clock the next morning woke up and nearly fainted from the deliciousness all around me. Dinner. Was. Made. I had done nothing. And it was the most perfectly cooked piece of brisket I had ever seen. Why did I wait so long? I am consumed with regret.

saucing
green onion, red cabbage slaw

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

spinach and cheese strata

spinach and cheese strata

I have spent the last few months unearthing recipes I’ve had bookmarked for an eternity. A whole lot of them, mostly things I have spared you, did not exactly age like fine wine, as they say; fillings ran, vegetables never caramelized, spiced mixed nuts were grimy and cookies were painfully sweet. The rest of them, however, caused me to become consumed with regret when I think of all of the times we could have already consumed mindblowing butterscotch, caviar-esque creamed mushrooms and speedy, rich biscuits but did not know of them yet. This is one of those times.

egging up the casserole

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m all about hosting brunch, but only if I can make everything in advance. When it comes to biscuits, bacon, baked French toast and fruit salads, pulling it off is obvious. But I always get lost on the eggs, and for a whole lot of people, it’s not breakfast if it doesn’t involve eggs. This strata — really, a savory bread pudding — is the missing piece because not only can you make it the night before, you are supposed to.

spinach and cheese strata

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, November 12, 2009

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

swiss chard and sweet potato gratin

Surely I’m not alone in this: When I’m eating starchy foods, I think I should be eating more greens. When I’m eating my greens, I wish I had heavier foods to balance them. And pretty much all of the time, I wonder why it has been so long since I made macaroni and cheese.

so much chard!yamsmise, messgreens and yams gratin

And this is what happens when I stewed all of these thoughts together in my head over countless feedings. I love sweet potatoes but I find most preparations of them too heavy and sweet (which is why I stick to spicing, curry-ing and/or spicing, curry-ing and frittering them); I love chard but I find most preparations of it too earnest but when I put these together in a gratin I ended up with the most bubbling, gurgling, cooing delight of a fall comfort there could be.

(Or maybe I’m just talking about the baby.)

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 29, 2009

baked chicken meatballs

baked chicken pancetta meatballs

As it turns out, I’m a sucker for a good meatball. It’s a funny thing because ground meat has rarely done it for me; I’m certain I’m the lone American who doesn’t get in a frenzy over hamburgers or meatloaf. But something happens when you mix otherwise dull ground meats up with softened bread, herbs, seasonings and bits of extra ingredients, oof — I will swat your fork away to get at them first.

onion, garlic, pancetta
meatballs, ready to mix

I’ve found some good ones over the years, such as the only ones you should ever serve with your spaghetti and these guys, which, if you have not already, you should not wait until next summer to try, not to mention the ones I sneak into sliders and soup. But as I hadn’t tried these before, my meatball recipe collection — and possibly even my life — was woefully deficient.

brushing with tomato paste

Continued after the jump »