Tag Archives: recipe

Smoked Tofu Curry Noodle


I spent the first beautiful weekend of summer in Ithaca, NY. Between hiking, ultimate frisbee, and yoga, I had a little bit of time to check out the local food co-op and grocery store.

Ithaca is home to a thriving vegetarian scene, including the landmark Mosewood Restaraunt, so I couldn’t wait to try the locally made organic tofu I found. Each individually-wrapped, golden brown block of Ithaca Soy Tofu-Kan cost around $2.00, and came marinated, baked and ready to eat.

After using it in this recipe, I fell in love with this ingredient. Continue reading


Chawanmushi Style Poached Eggs


I was so inspired by the host of my new favorite cooking show I decided to make up a recipe of my own. Here is a breakfast I made that is a cross between Japanese egg custard soup with fillings and good ol’ poached eggs. It may seem a bit fussy, but trust me, it is worth the effort. This meal was gone in seconds.

There are various ways to poach an egg, but the only foolproof one that works for me is the ladle method I use in this recipe. It is so easy you will feel like you have just skipped the school pep rally to go do wheelies in the parking lot! Continue reading

A Leg Up on Summer Grilling

48 hours ago, Jean got a call from his friend Kwaku. Kwaku was back in town after months on the road for his job, and we were both happy to hear from him. In a moment’s time, they decided that the perfect reunion would be a Memorial Day BBQ on our rooftop. I reminded Jean about his show that night, so they decided it would be an early party, and everyone (including the band) would arrive at 2pm.

After Jean hung up the phone, we devised the menu. The main attraction would be swordfish and lamb skewers. We invented these together one cold night in Soho, where I’d had my own little studio apartment. The stove there was about two feet wide, but it did have a broiler. So, to combat the winter blues, we charred the skewers – for that BBQ grill effect – and plopped Bob Marley’s Kaya onto the record player.

Now, summer was here and it was time to get down to some real grillin.’

Over Sunday brunch, I called the fishmonger, the butcher, and the vegetable stand to see who was open for the Holiday. Over giggles from the boy (yes, only food-obsessed dorkuses have these kind of emergency contacts), I found out we would only be able to get veggies, so we called Kwaku and he agreed to bring the meat and fish from Queens. Then Jean and I continued our day as planned, with a trek to Water Taxi Beach for a party (and a delicious Motz burger for me!).

Kwaku called us back and announced that he’d bought a butterflied LEG of lamb! I went into momentary cheapskate shock. “But that’s too good! I always get the cubes that go into stew!” (And then marinate the heck out of them.) I began to envision too-tender cuts of meat melting through the grill and fizzling away on the coals.

That night, I stayed up ’til 6 baking muffins, and then got up early to start the potato salad and hummus while Jean cleaned the house (I just had to put that in there so everyone knows I’m not chained to the stove while he’s kickin’ back). The first guests were Jean’s friend/guitarist Allan and his 4 year-old clone, (and the cutest kid in Brooklyn) Sid- who’d both slept over.

Kwaku arrived with the fish and the gloriously red leg of lamb. Sid sat very close by as I got to work breaking the beautiful thing down into small pieces. It seemed like a crime to destroy it, but my tiny BBQ grill (purchased to accommodate previously mentioned Soho studio) didn’t have enough space or firepower for a whole joint of any animal. My angst was alleviated by the running commentary from Sid, which included; “Is that the butt?” “Where is the butt?” and “Are you sure that’s not the butt? It looks like a butt.”

After I’d threaded the meat, baby tomatoes, onion, and fish onto skewers, I stood back and took in the scene. There was a lot of meat. Plus whole ears of corn, hot dogs, and buns to grill. And the guests were arriving. Could my tin can pull it off?

Continue reading

Gimme the Gouda Stuff

Yesterday I met my friend Audrea for lunch at AQ Cafe, inside the Scandinavia House, which itself is nestled amongst the consulates along Park Avenue below Grand Central Station. As you can guess, the menu is Scandinavian, and headlined by Swedish meatballs. They are served in a creamy sauce, with a side of mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers, and lingonberry sauce (a lot like cranberry sauce).

We tried those, along with a salmon platter that included smoked salmon, gravlax, cold potatoes, sour cream, and something that tasted like sweet and sour sauce. Both were okay, but the part of the meal that I just can’t stop thinking about was the Tomato and Cheese soup Audrea ordered ($5).

AQ Cafe Tomato and Gouda Soup

Instead of using spoons, we ripped pieces off the stack of hearty yet soft whole grain bread, thin crispbread and homemade crackers; dunked them in the soup; and took bites while we talked about funerals, pigging-out in Japan, catcalling/harassment of women on the streets of New York, and recycling etiquette.

The soup was made with gouda, and since we were dipping instead of sipping, it reminded me of fondue…a lusciously tomato-y fondue. I will definitely go back again for this, order the bigger bowl (seen above is the cup-sized portion) and a double-tall stack of bread.

Since fondue is a social activity, I should also bring more friends. Or maybe I’ll just eat it all myself 😉

AQ Cafe
@ Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue (between 37th and 38th Streets)

Cucumber Salad with Mushrooms

I was craving mushrooms last night, and not just any mushrooms- RAW mushrooms, as in unabashed fungal goodness.

I decided to add mushrooms to the somewhat run-o-the-mill cucumber salad I was planning, to go with some simple roasted eggplant and oven-warmed pitas. The results were completely satisfying, as the mushrooms gave the salad a richness and depth (like cheese!) to counterbalance the cool neutrality of the yogurt and cucumbers. Yum.

Cucumber and Mushroom Salad

1 large cucumber, sliced

8 white mushrooms, sliced

1 individual size yogurt, drained

½ c. chopped dill leaves

¼ c. thinly sliced & chopped red onion

¼ c. chopped sundried tomato (optional)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbp. vinegar

2 tbp. oil

salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss. Serve immediately.


Alternately, whisk together the dill, lemon, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and chill all ingredients until ready to serve. Before serving, combine the other ingredients and toss in dressing.


Note: the longer you let the salad sit, the more marinated the mushrooms will be. This can be good: if you want a richer flavor, or bad: if you want the “crunch” of crisp mushroom slices between your teeth. I recommend you have one serving right away, and then another later, so you can have the best o’ both ‘shrooms!


This would also go well with grilled meat…kebabs, lamb burgers. I had it and loved it with a veggie burger, too.


*UPDATE* The Nation’s only mushroom museum, in Kennett Square, PA, (the “mushroom capital of the world“) has closed!


When I was 13, my Dad took me there during one of our frequent, post-move road trips from D.C. to Pennsylvania. All I can remember is watching a video of a worker shoveling manure onto shelves in a dark barn and a time lapse video of mushrooms growing on it.


After a moment of revulsion, we went out for a mycelian feast at a local inn that specialized in dishes featuring buttons, portabellas, oysters, criminis, shiitakes… I had linguine with mixed mushrooms. It was my first moment of Pennsylvania pride!


Recently, I noticed that a package of Brooklyn vegetable stand mushrooms I was opening was from Kennett Square (sigh).


Rest in peace, mushroom museum.

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn and Cotija Quiche

I invented this a few months ago and have since been perfecting my secret recipe. Now it’s time to share it with you!

Anita's Mexican Grilled Corn Quiche

This quiche is inspired by the Mexican corn served at Cafe Habana’s rollicking Sunday brunch (without the mayo), and also elotes, the beloved cups of hot steaming corn (the red cooler in a grocery cart variety) that warmed my walk home when I lived in Hamilton Heights.

Corn was my comfort on those chilly nights, and I figured it would work well in quiche, which is also a part-comfort (a la cup o’ corn) part-party (a la Cafe Habana) food.

This particular one sells well at Phoebe’s, especially now that the weather is warming, because grilled corn is a BBQ-type food and reminds us of summer and being outside.

Here is the recipe:
Continue reading

I Know What Cloud 9 Smells Like

I make muffins every day. It’s my job – I am the “muffin lady” in this ‘hood! So you may wonder why I have not posted about muffins until this point. It must be something like not being able to see your own nose, if you know what I mean 🙂

At least once a week a new muffin gets invented in my kitchen, and that keeps things interesting. The one I invented tonight is noteworthy not only for its culinary appeal, but because baking them made my whole house smell freakin’ amazing! Like, getting-dizzy-from-hyperventilating-good.

Someone who bakes as much as I do smells lots of good stuff. The aroma pretty much entrances everyone who walks through the door. Just the other night, after I’d baked some corn muffins, Jean’s friend Alan walked in and declared “A house should not smell like this any more than once a week. It’s not fair.”

But to me, those smells have become a backup to my kitchen timer: a way to distinguish exactly what is going on inside my windowless oven, which leaves little time for me to actually “stop and smell the muffins.”

BUT tonight was an exception. For the first time, I made Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins. And my house has never smelled better. As far as I can remember, nothing has smelled better. Seriously…better than all the Nag Champa I burned in college, a field of lily-of-the-valley, and every hot dog cart in New York all put together.

by Anita

Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Muffins (Vegan)
Makes 6 jumbo muffins

1 ¾ c. unbleached flour
¼ c. natural (non-dutched) cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
¾ c. soymilk
1/3 c. canola oil
1 tsp. flax seed blended with 3 tsp. water
1/3 c. raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together everything else but the jam. Add the wet to the dry and fold together until just combined.

Drop the jam on top of the batter in spoonfuls, and then fold in 2-3 times, but do not completely mix in.

Divide batter between tins and bake 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

You kitchen will smell amazing!