Batter Licker

May 25, 2012

gabi moskowitz’s brokeass gourmet cookbook and broccoli-kale gratin

I remember first meeting Gabi Moskowitz serendipitously at an Indian food-themed dinner hosted by our mutual friends, Rebecca and Bill Kee. While in the middle of preparing dal (a spicy lentil dish), she paused to introduce herself in a very warm and welcoming manner before putting me to work chopping onions. As I began that task, Bill casually mentioned that Gabi had a food blog too.  Soon I learned that she was not just any other kitchen maven named Gabi, but was The Gabi of Brokeass Gourmet, a recipe site with a monthly readership of over 30,000. I can guarantee the consistency of my onion cuts suffered as a result of being dorkily starstruck.

Thankfully, her fun and sassy demeanor disarmed my intimidation before I did too much damage in the kitchen. And I was happy to have shared a stove and chopping board, albeit briefly, with such an incredibly talented woman.

A few years’ worth of mostly social media exchanges later, I was excited for Gabi when I discovered she had procured a cookbook deal. When her PR rep sent me a complimentary copy of The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook** to review, I could hardly contain myself upon its arrival. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I Gabi-vangelized the delivery person.

For those unfamiliar with this kindergarten-teacher-turned-cuisini√®re’s food blog and general background, I highly recommend you hop on over there, even if it’s just for a cursory visit. Once you bounce around her site a bit, you’ll see that Gabi’s cooking philosophy is grounded in accessibility and flavor.

These values carry over into her 116-recipe cookbook, where she starts with advice that will make meal-making much easier to manage no matter your skill level: how to stock a pantry with essentials like flour, olive oil, and salt for merely $50. And if you’re a bit of a lush like me, you’ll appreciate her subsequent input on how to smartly stock a budget bar.

Continuing to flip through the pages, I found that Gabi often takes dishes that might ordinarily be intimidating, such as Pakistani Butter Chicken (pictured above, although I deviated slightly by cooking the chicken thighs whole) or Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi, and simplifies the techniques involved without sacrificing flavor. She transforms the seemingly complex recipes such that beginner and immediate cooks alike can appreciate the time, steps and stress she’s saved them. (more…)

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 24, 2012

five spice marinated pork

I should probably re-title this post: “Pork Jay Will Happily Eat For 4+ Days in a Row Without Complaint, And Then Ask For More Next Week.”

That doesn’t sound impressive if you know that I will happily tuck into leftovers, eating the same thing over and over again for lunch and dinner for almost an entire week straight.

But Jay’s more of a one-and-done eater: not particularly keen on leftovers or repeats. So his desire to have this pork be a repeat player in multiple meals every single week says a lot, to me …

… as does the fact that, allegedly, my friend Joe’s first words the morning after a recent pork-featuring barbecue were, “That pork was delicious; I need the recipe.”

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Besides being addictively delicious and abundantly flavorful, this pork is super easy to make. (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…)

March 8, 2012

chinese barbecue (char siu) pork cowboy steak

The night before Valentine’s Day, Jay and I got more intimate than usual – with a pig.

That might sound gruesome and not in the least bit romantic, but I still feel like I’m under some sort of meaty love spell weeks after we eagerly watched Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats skillfully butcher the whole pig and explain the perks of each cut and his use-the-whole-animal philosophy during San Francisco Beer Week’s Butchers and Beers event.

Clearly, I’m my Great Depression era grandmother’s granddaughter; I’m a sucker for reducing, if not eliminating, waste. I get an intense thrill out of embracing resourcefulness and the creativity that inevitably plays a role in finding uses for less popular animal parts, apple peels, and vegetable scraps.

Perhaps it’s needless to say in this context, but once the Butchers and Beers silent auction benefiting The Food Pantry came to a close, we walked home with the bones and offal – and a large hunk of pork known as a cowboy steak.

Hilarious-and-ironic-to-me story from the auction: while waiting patiently to increase our bids, I overheard two guys in front of me whine “ewwwwwwww” when they came across the offal bid card; they were much more enamored with the super popular and trendy pork belly. (more…)

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