Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peach Crisp

So on Saturday I made peach crisp which like I said on my previous post is one of my all time favorite desserts and Sunday me and my family had to leave my cousin's house but don't  worry, no peach crisp will be left uneaten because we have tons of it. This specific peach crisp is amazing and I usually detest fruit desserts but this actually tasted good ( it tastes even better with vanilla ice cream.) The two greatest thing about this crisp I think are that it tastes amazing cold and it's pretty easy to make. So yeah bye my mom will post a link to the recipe and I strongly recommend it to non fruit dessert lovers because it will convert you to a partial fruit dessert lover.   

This recipe actually came from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. I did however find what looks like a similar recipe by her online at
So bake and enjoy!

Ellen has the best baking dish for this!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Cousin's Farm

So on Thursday I went on a three or four hour car ride to go to my cousin Ellen's house in Pennsylvania. Since I usually hate long car rides I wasn't exactly so happy about being stuck in a car for about three hours while I was sitting next to my oh so annoying little brother, but it was worth those pretty abysmal three hours, because Ellen has almost every kind of cooking thing that you could possibly think of and also she's just a lot of fun to cook with, oh and did I mention she has a pool with a diving board? Anyway so on Thursday we made Meyer lemon chicken with risotto, yesterday we made grilled steak ( Ellen did that), the grilled steak was amazing by the way, and I made the roasted potatoes, plus farro, I helped make the corn on the cob too. But unfortunately I can't eat corn on the cob because I have braces so my mother dearest has to cut the corn off of the cob for me ( sigh...) so I'm having a pretty good time here so far and my mother ( or Ellen) will tell you where to get these recipes and tonight we're making peach crisp - one of my all time favorite desserts.     

I LOVE my cousin's farm. I've been going there since I was a child and have many great memories of family meals cooked and shared there. For those of you who would like to know what farro is here is the Wikipedia definition. Basically it seems to be another type whole grain wheat, rather like spelt. We cooked it in chicken stock like rice - 2 cups liquid to one cup grain. We sauteed onions first, then added the farro and chicken stock, and cooked it until liquid was absorbed (there seems to be some debate on exactly how long we actually cooked it for - 20 - 30 mins). We then added lots of butter and parmesan cheese. I love farro and was introduced to it by Ellen years ago at an Italian restaurant. Frankies Sputino makes great farro btw if you want to try it and are in Brooklyn or NYC. I will make this at home for sure.

The chicken with Meyer lemon from the night before came from this recipe from the NY Times and was delicious! We substituted thyme for the rosemary because my husband hates rosemary and didn't use leeks because we didn't have any. I don't have any pics of that dinner, sorry. Here is a pic of the wonderful stove at the farm.

Some of the family at the dinner table.

Our cousin Katy showed us this great trick for buttering corn. First put a big pat of butter on a slice of bread and then butter your corn on the buttered bread!

Dinner was oh so yummy!!!

Our cousin Herb made a great salad and Lila made balsamic vinaigrette.

Lila will write about the peach cobbler in the next post.
Here are a couple more pics. 

Ellen at the grill:

Lila tasting the farro:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lemon Chicken

On Friday I made lemon chicken which is chicken that is basically poached in this sauce that consists of lemon, butter, white wine, and mushrooms. Okay I was so excited that I basically got to poach a chicken because I've always wanted to poach a chicken. The next thing I want to do is brine chicken. I know that brining a chicken sounds kind of weird  but it's supposed to actually be quite tasty, well at least that's what I heard on one of my class science trips and that was the only cool thing we did in science class all year (the trip was to a restaurant and was a pickle tasting.) Anyway I normally hate mushrooms but this made them actually taste somewhat good and that's saying a lot because I usually try not to touch mushrooms. Bye I have to do my piles of math homework.

I would just like to clarify that this was poached boneless chicken breast. Lila found this recipe on epicurious (we LOVE epicurious as you know by now I'm sure). It was really delicious and pretty easy to make, so this will go into the regular dinner rotation for sure. Even Pavan loved it! The sauce was so yummy I wish we had made rice with this - we will make sure to next time!

 We did make another favorite veggie dish to go with the chicken: mashed cauliflower. Ok actually it's pureed cauliflower. Great substitute for mashed potatoes. Just steam the cauliflower florets and then puree them in a food processor with LOTS of butter and salt and pepper. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Panini with Grandma

0n Friday or at least I think it was Friday but anyway I was staying over at my grandma's apartment for the day/previous night. My grandma has a panini press at her apartment so I came up with the idea to make paninis. So we made this amazing broccoli rabe and provolone panini, it was one of the most amazing paninis I've ever had not considering that I have only had two paninis in my life. The recipe consisted of one pretty hard to find thing: a sliced Italian round loaf that had to be 1/4 of an inch thick and it had to be 8-9 inches long. Well it was hard to find with the selection of supermarkets in her area so we improvised and bought two rolls of ciabatta bread instead and they turned out heavenly. The recipe also called for anchovies and my grandma was a bit reluctant because who really likes anchovies but when I said that anchovies were a flavor enhancer she was sold. Bye I've got to go eat dinner because I'm starved.

Lila used this panini recipe from epicurious. I'm glad I wasn't around for this dish as it would have been torture (no bread for me - sigh). Lila forgot to take pictures of the paninis but she did take a pic of the pasta they made together with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. Looks yummy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Potato Pancakes

So today I made potato pancakes which were pretty good. They weren’t the best potato pancakes I’ve ever had. The best potato pancakes I’ve ever had were in third grade when one kid’s mom made them, those were superb. However the kid’s mom was a former food network chef so I can’t exactly make food network caliber potato pancakes - well at least not yet anyways. I don’t know why but they didn’t exactly have the right flavor, maybe it was because I used grape seed oil instead of canola oil. Anyway so in the recipe it said that you have to grate a large onion and let me tell you grating an onion is not a fun time. I mean anything that is onion chopping is a bad thing but onion grating is in a whole different category, it’s 1,000 times worse than bad because bad, well, just does not justify the awful stinging in your eyes. 
So bye I’m off to watch TV.       

Lila really did do everything for this recipe, since I have never made them myself. I thought they were delicious - just needed salt. Here is the recipe we used. The mom Lila was referring to (former food network chef) wrote a cookbook  I remember: Kitchen Playdates: Easy Ideas for Entertaining That Includes the Kids ** 70 Delicious Recipes by Lauren Deen. Perhaps this book includes the superb potato pancake recipe.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spaghetti with Skylar

So last Tuesday I had a sleepover with my friend Skylar who I made dinner with and who's mom told me and my mom that there was a sale at this awesome store called LF. So anyway we made a marginal tomato sauce although the $10.00 Parmesan that I bought was quite good.

Here are my tips on how to not make a mediocre/watery tomato sauce. Personally I prefer to use whole tomatoes because they're just so fun to squeeze. That sentence didn't sound right did it? Anyway I also like to brown the garlic even though my mom always tells me not to, it actually gives the tomato this nice unexplainable flavor. I also prefer making tomato sauce with a friend because it just makes it more fun and besides isn't cooking/baking with a friend almost always more fun than when you're cooking/baking on your own? On to more tomato sauce making tips. I also prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes instead of your generic tomatoes because who want regular tomatoes in a semi regular tomato sauce? My final tip is not to stir the tomato sauce every 5 seconds because then it won't cook and will result in watery and marginal tomato sauce. So bye I'm off to watch TV. Oh and my mom will also post the recipe.                    

 Lila usually makes a great marinara sauce, and we all think the reason this one wasn't quite as good was indeed too much stirring. Who knew? Here is Lila's basic recipe: 6 - 7 cloves of garlic sliced and then browned in extra virgin olive oil. She adds a can of whole tomatoes that she already has squished into a bowl with her hands. Then she cooks it on medium low heat stirring occasionally for about 30 mins. She adds a handful of torn up basil toward the end and also salt and pepper to taste. We did  once make an amazing marinara from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. It takes all day but still...

Friday, August 3, 2012


 From Lila:
 So yesterday me and mom collaborated on dinner. The dish that we made was mujadara which consists of rice, lentils, and sort of caramelized onions. So from the description it doesn't sound as absolutely amazing as it is. It's so good it's almost worth all of the amazingly awful onion chopping, well at least for me anyways. Earlier on in the day I had over heard that I might be going to Maui in December, okay so I know that it's kind of stupid to get excited about possibly going to Hawaii but I've been seriously missing Maui (hey that's an awesome book/movie title). Anyway I've also been having reoccurring dreams about Hawaii like last night I had a dream about Hawaii. Okay so now I really have to get back to the topic.  When I was frying or more like caramelizing the awful onions that made this dish so good I unfortunately burned myself with hot oil (uggh...) It stunk but the smell of the caramelizing onions was heavenly. Also if you eat a ton of mujadara like me and my mom did it makes you feel a bit funky but it's so worth it. Bye I've got to go and do my math now.     

From Ambika:
I have to say here that this really was amazing (and it is quite healthy - not sure why Lila said it made us feel funky)!!! We have been getting this dish from Sahadi's (great place if you find yourself in Brooklyn) and loved it so we decided we should try making it on our own. I searched for a recipe and then found this one, which looked like a winner and I must say it it was! This mujadara is far and above what we have been buying. My only complaint is that we ate ALL of it and had none left for leftovers. So next time we will have to double the recipe, which does mean chopping A LOT of onions. But since this is my new favorite recipe, we will make this again and again for sure. A couple of notes: we did not fry more onions for garnish and did not miss them. Also we rinsed the rice before cooking it (since I always do that). And we used grape seed oil instead of canola, since that what we had on hand. Do try this at home!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fish Tacos

From Lila:
So today I made fish tacos with “pickled” red onions well actually they’re marinated in almost all of a small bottle of red wine vinegar but still it’s kind of like pickling. Sorry that I haven’t been blogging so much lately but I’ve actually had a lot of social events going on like my fourth grade teacher taking me out to dinner with two of my friends. Also I’ve had to do a lot of my math homework (uggh…)

Anyway this summer I’ve learned a considerably large amount of things but the three most important things that I’ve learned is: cutting onions sucks, cutting jalapeños sucks because today was the first time I have ever cut jalapeños and I got jalapeño juice on my face, trust me it was painful, finally I’ve learned don’t slack on your piles of math homework. Wow that was a long cheesy list, so back to reality. This whole fish taco experience was certainly interesting to say the least, not the actual cooking but the butting heads between me and my mom. I mean our time in the kitchen together could turn into a hit reality TV show like… well I can’t think of one of those trashy reality shows right now but I will. My favorite topping was the marinated red onion. Since I hated the Pico-de-Gallo, it was really the only other condiment that I could like. I was really excited about “pickling” the onions because I’ve had them on amazing tacos at this taco place called Oaxaca that have the pickled onions on them (delish). So bye, oh and you must try this fish taco recipe.     

From Ambika:
I'm posting this during commercials while watching the Olympics (I love the Olymics!). I just want to add that we used mahi mahi for theses tacos, which was really great (and pricey). I do kind of wish I had recorded the jalapeño chopping drama. Although Lila resisted quite vehemently at first, she did successfully seed and chop a jalapeño. So she gets big points for that and for making some really delicious fish tacos!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Brunch with Friends

From Lila:
Okay so it’s 7:48 PM right now and I’m blogging.  This isn’t my usual blogging time but yesterday Bela (my mom’s friend) took me, my mom, and her two boys Kabir and Siddarth to brunch. The restaurant was my choice of course. Bela wanted to see us since she was in Brooklyn and figured it would be perfect because then I could blog about it. So I had to pick a place that had soft foods because I got the rest of my braces put on this Thursday. It caused me excruciating pain on Friday - it made it so I could barely chew (they’re still causing me pain.) Naturally I picked Flatbush Farm a farm to table restaurant and I’m pretty sure some of its food is Mexican influenced. Anyway the restaurant is about one mile away from where I live so I had to get to Flatbush Farm by crossing the Gowanus Canal which for those of you who don’t know the Gowanus Canal is this disgusting murky chemical filled canal that people go kayaking in sometimes.

 Here’s what we ordered: me and me my mom ordered The Ranch Hand Breakfast which consisted of corn chips which were smothered pepper sauce on top of those chips were scrambled eggs with thinly sliced radishes as a garnish, under those chips was lime cream with that was some sort of pepper paste, it was amazing and the chips soaked up all of the pepper sauce. Bela and Kabir ordered the Farmers Breakfast but Kabir ordered it with a side of bacon and Bela ordered it with a side of garlicky greens, which are amazing. The farmers breakfast consists of an egg ant style, potato plantain hash, and a side of either greens or bacon. I got this dish last time I went to Flatbush Farm and it was okay, it wasn’t special but since I hate bacon I got the greens, which are amazing.  Yes I know that for those of you who love bacon I’ve committed a serious crime but I personally think it’s disgusting. 

 Anyway Siddarth got the crispy duck confit, which consists of duck (obviously) a duck egg and a lentil something pilaf. I’ve never actually had duck confit but thanks to my aunt Deborah I’ve actually had duck. Somewhere in the time I was at Flatbush Farms someone said something about Ice cream so me and my mom both nearly jumped up and said Van Leeuwens in unison.  We wound up going to Van Leeuwen an ice cream place in cobble hill.

 I have to back track right now because I still have stuff to say about Flatbush Farms. So while we were waiting for our food I was looking at this woman’s burger and fries nearly drooling, I’m not kidding I have a palette expander which makes me drool quite a lot, and I was also trying not to drool by looking at an awesome brick wall with ivy crawling up it’s side. Man the food was good there.

Anyway on to Van Leeuwen: When I walked in there I really had to go pee so I couldn’t exactly admire the wallpaper and lovely décor but I did take an unnecessary amount of time to choose an ice cream flavor because hey ice cream is so much more important than peeing. So the ice cream flavor I chose was cinnamon because it tasted kind of like the cinnamon butter cream that is on the red velvet cupcake at BAKED in Brooklyn. I also chose it because I love cinnamon. After I went to the bathroom I finally got to taste bowl of the cinnamon flavored ice cream, it tasted really cinnamony and as I referred to before it tasted like the cinnamon butter cream from BAKED but it also tasted kind of creamy, so I know this’ll sound cheesy but there are no words to describe how good the cinnamon ice cream is. So bye I have to go and make green beans for tonight’s dinner.  


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Peking Duck House

From Lila: 
So yesterday I didn’t actually cook anything for dinner but instead I went to The Peking Duck House and I actually tried Peking duck, I know big shocker right? Anyway the Peking Duck House was in Chinatown and for those of you who live in New York as you already know it was a torrential downpour at around 5:30 PM. My mom, my aunt, and me unfortunately got caught in that downpour and had to stop under a jewelry shop awning for about five minutes. While we were under that awning we admired the jewelry. So once the rain had let up a bit we started walking again. When we finally got there it was like 5:35, which I wasn’t too happy about because I’m a bit neurotic about being late [we had a reservation at 5:30.] Anyway enough about me now I’m going to actually review the restaurant, Peking Duck House.

When I walked into the Peking Duck House we were seated at a table that had an excellent view of this awesome light art and, wait for it, wait for it…. The front of the kitchen, how awesome is that? Aside from the partially awesome view the restaurant was insanely cool. Here’s what my mom, my aunt and me had for dinner, Peking duck, sizzling prawns with fried rice, and some appetizers.

Once you get the duck the waiters bring it by you and show you the duck. As some of you may know Peking duck comes with it’s head on, so when you see the duck with it’s head on it does two things to you, first it kind of creeps you out with its glassy dead eyes just staring at you and second it kind of makes you feel bad that a duck had to die to just so that it could be digested. After you got over the fact that the duck you’re about to eat has a head its actually quite tasty. The duck is served with the Chinese version of a flour tortilla, hoison sauce, plus scallions and cucumbers. Once you bite into the tortillaish thing then the crunchy duck skin and the rich duck meat that is covered in the hoison sauce and the scallions you have a pretty perfect bite.

When the chef brings out the prawns and makes them sizzle some how then bring it over to your table. Tip: don’t touch the spoon that’s in the bowl of prawns like six seconds after its put on the table because sort of low down on the spoon it burns you (that’s what happened to me.) Anyway it was one of the best dinners I have ever had.

From Ambika: 
I have to give it up to my sister Deborah for introducing us to the Peking Duck House. I admit to being skeptical but agree with Lila, who basically said it all about the duck – kind of disturbing and yes delicious. As a former vegetarian and somewhat reluctant meat eater, seeing a whole duck like that with head on was pretty intense. But if I’m eating meat I also think I should have some awareness of exactly what it is I am eating (rather than the usual neatly packaged stuff).

I would also like to add that we had Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce which I LOVE (I love Chinese broccoli pretty much any way it’s made)! They do give you A LOT of food so make sure you are plenty hungry when you go there. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guest Chef: Cousin Jordan

From Lila:
So today I made green curry with my cousin Jordan. Once again I didn’t get to read my MAD Magazines. So the green curry was really good but didn’t exactly smell delectable it smelled kind of like fish sauce mixed with the “great” smell of fish shops in Chinatown. I don’t really have anything else to say that’s funny, wait hold that thought I have more stuff to talk about. So today as you already know my cousin Jordan came over to cook dinner with me but you’ll be happy to know I got in my mandatory relaxing hours and cooking with Jordan was quite fun as they would say in sophisticated terms. So I was cutting onions that were really strong [uggh] and as you already know when cutting onions your eyes water a lot. I also had to zest half a lime the other Jordan did. Wow there’s a lot of tedious work involved in making a good curry [uggh, again.]  But all in all my dinner making experience was pretty great. Wow what I just said was the second cheesiest thing I have written. Bye people I have to get back to reading the babysitters club graphic novel.

From Ambika:
Many thanks to our cousin Jordan for teaching Lila how to make green curry. We made it with tofu, zucchini and snow peas. It was delicious! Jordan is a wonderful and patient teacher (I am admittedly not so patient). We all had a great time and got lots of pics!

 Pressing the tofu.

 Marinating the tofu.

Green curry sauce.

Jordan showed Lila a great way to chop zucchini.

Looks good (also I love this pan)!

Green Curry - yum!