Category Archives: comfort food

everyday harumi

Everyday Harumi is just an amazing cookbook.  Lauren chose it for our cookbook club which was just a great choice and meant that we got to try about fifteen dishes and they were all amazing.  I made a coleslaw and pickled cauliflower for the evening, everything was great and complimentary and as per always the company was just the best.  I stole this picture from Lauren but I think she’ll be okay with it.

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Before the cookbook party, I tried out Harumi’s udon noodles with a ground meat miso sauce, which is really one of my new favourite easy, quick dishes.

  • 1 leek
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • vegetable oil
  • 3/4 of a pound of ground chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons miso
  • a bit of zucchini or cucumber for garnish
  • udon noodles

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Chop the leek and ginger and fry them, then add the ground meat until it’s browned.  Turkey works, too, apparently, but my butcher only has ground chicken these days.  Mix up the soup stock, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and miso paste together and add to the turkey, cooking until it thickens.  Meanwhile, cook the udon noodles and julienne the zucchini or cucumber for garnish.  Delicious.

Everyday Harumi is great, the recipes are all fabulous.  Harumi Kurihara’s writing style is grating at best, but this may just get a bit lost in translation.  I recommend the book, but maybe skim the introduction.

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lentils and carrots

I went to New Orleans (amazing!) and only ate fried food for four days.  That is too many days of fried food!  Don’t worry, I tempered it with a bazillion raw oysters and too much fun.  But, when I got back, all I wanted was vegetables.  So, I flipped through Diana Henry’s Plenty, again.  Such a lovely book, and I haven’t even gotten past the section on “Vegetable Love.” This lentil and carrot dish seemed like a good idea, since it isn’t quite amazing vegetable season right now.

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  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups, or more, vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • juice of one lemon

Sauté the onion in oil until soft, then add the garlic and spices.  Next, add the lentils, carrots, tomato paste, sugar, and cover in vegetable broth.  Bring this to a boil and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.  You may have to add more broth, or water.  Add the herbs and lemon juice, and make sure the coriander and heat is okay.  I served this with frozen, fried theplas, which are totally delicious.  I actually want to eat everything with my hands.  And I will be, for awhile, because this made so, so much, so basically it’s going to be leftovers forever.

orange stew

It is fall.  I know this because it’s been raining for what, like, two weeks, and the heat in my apartment magically turned on and I just keep listening to Nina Simone.  So, yeah, fall is here.  I have to embrace it or else I will just whine about how much I love summer and that is annoying.  Plus, I love cooking fall meals, not only because I get to use cast iron and heat, but also because they’re delicious and hearty and generally awesome.

I moved out of Kensington, which is hard, and sad, but I still work Sundays at Good Egg, which lately has meant that I buy one cookbook a week (except last week, when I bought two) and spend the day dreaming about delicious food.  So much so that I got home on Monday and made this stew from Diana Henry’s beautiful book Plenty with Katie.  This book is gorgeous and covered in post-its right now because I am just that lame.

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The problem with stew is that it’s kind of not too photogenic, and the lighting in my kitchen isn’t great and it’s fall, so natural light isn’t doing what I need it to, so there is a picture of this stew that is not the best.

  • olive oil
  • 15 new potatoes, halved
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, cut into strips
  • 5 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 pinches of saffron (thanks, Jen, for all the saffron!)
  • 1 strip of orange zest
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil and sauté the potatoes, onions and leeks until the potatoes are browned a bit.  To be fair, I didn’t really want to wait that long because I was hungry, but if you can, it would probably be best.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for about a minute, then add in the soup stock.  Bring to a boil, then add the saffron, orange zest, thyme, salt and pepper and let everything simmer for about ten minutes.  Once the potatoes are basically cooked, add in the fennel and tomatoes, and cook for another ten minutes.

Diana Henry serves this with a rouille, but I don’t really love rouille so I just ate it as is.  The orange is surprising potent, and saffron really does make everything better.  I am into this stew, which is good because it made about a dozen servings.  Please call me if you want to come over for stew.

best barbecue sauce

Awhile ago, Tony emailed me to ask for the recipe for this barbecue sauce. I can’t believe I haven’t put it up here yet; such a clear indicator of just how bad I am at blogging.  Basically, this barbecue sauce is the best, ever.  I can’t take much (any) credit for it, because I found it on Epicurious, but it is, for sure, amazing.

I love making pulled pork.  Everyone loves pulled pork, I think, or at least everyone I love loves pulled pork.  I love that it takes a long time and that it gives me an excuse to go to the butcher shop, and that I can then pour this amazing barbecue sauce all over it. I made about one million pounds of pulled pork for my birthday party (no pictures, I am the worst blogger, but I was too busy having fun, plus as much as I love it, I know pulled pork is not so pretty), and it fed a bunch of people pretty easily.

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It should really come as no surprise that the key to this sauce is bourbon.  I love bourbon.

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (I use Bulleit, it is cheap and tastes like delicious bourbon)
  • 1/4 dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot, it is embarrassing how much I love this stuff ohhhh)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Simmer all the ingredients together until they thicken, which usually takes about 15 minutes.  This will keep for awhile, but I usually use it all in one go.

summer pizza

Okay, this is late. It’s hard to be on the internet because it’s so nice outside and, you know, I’ve only been eating salad and lots of barbecued meat.  But, a few weeks ago Lindsay and I made a pretty delicious pizza.  It was mostly amazing because Lindsay made Jim Lahey’s pizza dough before I got there. I stopped by the Bellwoods farmer’s market and picked up some asparagus and some Monteforte dairy cheese, inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s asparagus pizza. We switched it up a bit, though, and used a base of dijon and balsamic vinegar.

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The whole thing is pretty easy, we just mixed up a bunch of dijon and balsamic vinegar, and spread it on the dough. Then we shaved asparagus (this was for sure the most laborious part… and the wait, I hate waiting for pizza to cook) and tossed it in the dijon/balsamic mixture, and threw it on the pizza. We shaved some cheese over top and baked it. This pizza was awesome.

asparagus soup

Lauren posted that they were making asparagus soup over at Good Egg last weekend, and it totally inspired me. I think I was feeling a little too inspired, because I really skipped some key steps from the recipe, but it still turned out wonderfully. I had originally skipped over this soup, from Jamie at Home, because Jamie Oliver calls it a “creamy asparagus soup with a poached egg on top,” which is exactly what it is but also exactly what I don’t love. First, milk- or cream-based soups aren’t usually my thing. Second, I am picky about eggs. But, this recipe works so well because all the creaminess comes from the egg. I initially thought I would prefer the soup without egg but now that seems crazy. This soup is good, Jamie Oliver is right!

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  • 4 bunches asparagus, broken to discard the ends, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • poached eggs (poached in un-vinegared water)
  • toast

Fry up the onions, celery, and leeks in olive oil.  When they are nicely cooked, add the stock and the asparagus.  Jamie Oliver suggests keeping the tips out until the end but I missed this step and it turned out okay.  Simmer the stock for 20 minutes, and then purée the veggies.   Season carefully with salt and pepper.  At this point, put the asparagus tips in, if you haven’t already.  Heat everything up.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and toast up some bread.  Olivia Go’s awesome class taught me to use a really tall, thin pot to poach eggs, but I don’t have one. Once the water has boiled, give it a stir and crack an egg in. After 3 minutes or so, fish out the egg (or two) with a slotted spoon and top each bowl with the egg and bread. Split the yolk and stir. Seriously tasty and creamy in a good way!

pancakes

These are really just delicious pancakes.  They are so good that I have kept my 2009 agenda for two whole months because it was written in over a week when I apparently had absolutely no plans or deadlines in November. It seems like a better idea to keep this recipe here, and get rid of last year’s plans.

When you make these, the first thing you notice is that the batter tastes like cake.  You have to be truly committed to raw food (in the bad way, not in the healthy way) to try pancake batter, because it usually tastes like baking powder.  Luckily, both Ashley and I are, and now we know that this batter tastes amazing.  But it also makes really light and fluffy pancakes and basically only needs ingredients that I usually have in my cupboard.  Basically, best pancakes ever.

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  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together well, then add the liquids except the oil, then add the oil.  Fry them in a butter/oil combo.

This recipe comes from Ashley, and I’ve only ever made them with her.  The first time was at her cottage, and we had them with Lindsay’s homemade lemon ricotta (delish!), the second time was at Ashley’s parent’s house the morning after going to a serious serious haunted house.  Basically, lovely days made better by these pancakes.  I should make them more, so good!