Batter Licker

May 16, 2012

baked plantain and coconut crusted fish

I teased you last week with super easy and snackable baked plantain chips, mentioning that they were also great for coating fish and promising to provide a recipe soon. And here I am, following through on that.

This plantain and coconut crusted fish recipe was inspired by something similar devised by another cook on my team during last month’s Top Chef competition. But I wasn’t remotely involved in helping prepare the fish that night, so I scraped together this similar recipe based mostly on flavor memories. The resulting fish is very moist (thanks to the coconut milk), slightly coconutty, and has a flavorful crisp crust. (more…)

April 6, 2012

rye croutons

There’s been a lot of hubbub in San Francisco about finally having a Legitimate Jewish Deli, in the form of Wise Sons‘ Mission district location.

I have two thoughts on that:

(1) These people clearly haven’t been to Moishe’s Pippic in Hayes Valley, which has been serving phenomenal corned beef, pastrami and (on Fridays and Saturdays only) brisket for quite awhile now; and

(2) The rye bread at Wise Sons is transformative, at least as far as this longtime Rye-Hater is concerned.

Wise Sons’ rye bread is absolutely worth the annoyance of trying to find a parking spot in the Mission on a weekend afternoon. Hypothetically, I think it’s even worth waiting in the horrendously long line that wraps around the corner starting at 11 a.m. on weekends, when Wise Sons starts serving their infamous Reuben sandwiches. And I say “hypothetically” because of this very-exciting-to-me-now-that-I-know-it fact: (more…)

January 4, 2012

project wedding dessert bar: part 14 (moroccan-spiced crispy chickpeas)

I’m a crispy chickpea addict. A year and a half ago, this snack ushered me through weeks of studying for the bar exam during Summer 2010, and (especially after passing the exam) I’ve felt indebted to it ever since.

So in some weird way, it made sense to include this snack – which stood by my side in my mouth during some of my more miserable moments – in the dessert bar I created for family and friends to enjoy on an evening celebrating one of the consistent sources of happiness during the past decade of my life: my relationship with Jay. But the inclusion of chickpeas also made sense from another perspective.

In retrospect, I realized that the desserts I chose to serve at my wedding very much reflected a sugary timeline of my life and development.

Fudge and toffee represented the beginning, when I learned my mother’s precision and the importance of following candy recipes exactly. Sometimes, my mind would wander, my wrist would ache from stirring, and I would lose focus. That’s code for: I burned and threw out quite a few bad batches along the way. But if I hadn’t learned then, I probably would have scorched a lot of chocolate instead of melting it into delightfully rich truffles.

Quite a few years later, I began experimenting with caramels, and after quite a bit of testing, I finally came up with my own basic recipe. Eventually, that recipe blossomed into the fleur de sel and bourbon spice caramels friends and family enjoyed at our wedding.

In the past year or two, I have taken more risks – in life and in the kitchen – which was reflected in the more innovative cashew-bacon brittle and s’mores brownie bites that disappeared so quickly.

But back to making crispy chickpeas … (more…)

October 7, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 7 (chili lime peanuts)

The nut parade continues with chili lime peanuts because, in my opinion, variety always makes things a little more fun.

While the curried cashews and brown sugar, rosemary, bourbon-brined almonds were fairly easy to manage, these peanuts manage to be even simpler.

I threw peanuts into a bowl, but on a lazier day, I strongly believe these nuts could mix up quite nicely with the spices directly on a rimmed baking sheet. That’s right. One less thing to clean up.

But I didn’t think of that until after the peanuts had already made their way into the bowl. So I went ahead and zested a lime straight in there.

These limes were particularly attached to their juices. After rolling them around, halving them, and squeezing with all my strength, I yielded maybe a drop or two. Things were not looking good.
(more…)

March 17, 2011

aloo palak dal (indian-spiced lentils, spinach and potatoes)

To those of you who didn’t jump the gun like I did to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with cabbage and celery root in drunken mustard last week (and then again last weekend with a full-on family shebang), I hope you’re wearing green clothes, drinking and cooking with whiskey and beer, picking on your favorite leprechaun, and planning to make cheesy corned beef hash bread tomorrow with your leftovers.

As for me, it’s time for more whiskey and beer some Indian food that’s equally cheap as cabbage and potatoes (but isn’t boiled to death while everyone is distracted by adult beverages and rowdy conversations and then smothered in a spicy mustard disguise at the dinner table because obviously, after several whiskey shots and black and tans, this is the best cabbage ever!).

SAM_4399-250 SAM_4403-250

One of the benefits of eating vegan (or reducing meat and processed foods, at least) during the week is how cheap my grocery bill has become. I’m talking $20 per week for two people cheap, which, compared to my formerly $60-70 per week bill, is ridiculously low. I should probably go buy a new toy to play with a very necessary device for my kitchen to reward myself.

The other major benefit comes in the form of Indian food. (more…)

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