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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Extravagant Eggs

Eggs are basic and yet one of the harder things to cook well. My two favorite ways to eat eggs are poached or softly scrambled. I like creamy scrambled eggs, cooked low and slow, and so soft that no curds form. When it comes to poached eggs, the yolk should be runny and the white should be firm, but not rubbery. It's crucial to dry the eggs after poaching, so they aren't waterlogged. Both recipes take patience to master, but once you do, you will have so many options. The great thing about eggs, scrambled or poached, is that they pair well with so many other flavors and can be eaten any time of the day. I particularly like them for dinner. You can serve eggs with anything from the simplest fresh herbs to the most luxurious ingredients such as lobster, gravlax, caviar or truffles. Earlier this month instead of going out for our anniversary, Lee and I stayed in for an over-the-top breakfast for dinner celebration for two. I supplemented some homemade gravlax (thanks dad!) wi...
Monday, July 27, 2009

Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express

Mark Bittman is a genius when it comes to combining a few ingredients to create a great dish. In his Minimalist column in the New York Times, he simplifies recipes down to the bare bones and yet they retain all the appeal of more complicated dishes. I have several of his cookbooks, including the dog-eared How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and have given several of his books as gifts. I eagerly look forward to his columns in the New York Times, his Bitten blog posts, and especially his popular "101 lists." Here they are in case you missed any: * Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less * 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics * 101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less * 101 Simple Salads for the Season The loose format of these recipes works . Sometimes you don't need the typical list of ingredients and measurements, you just need good ideas and Bittman delivers plenty of them. So I was excited to check out Mark Bittman's Kitc...
Friday, July 24, 2009

Love, Marriage and Oysters

A couple of years ago during the screenwriter's strike Amy Ephron contacted me about writing for her site, One for the Table . I was honored and what a treat to finally meet her in person on my recent jaunt down to Hollywood! She gave me a very personal tour of the farmer's market at Third and Fairfax and afterwards we enjoyed breakfast and an order of pancakes, for the table. It was like hanging out with a long lost friend. Mostly my pieces on One for the Table are reprints from this blog, but from time to time I write something new. The current posts are all about seafood and mine is about love, marriage and oysters . It's a bit of a departure from what I usually write on Cooking with Amy, I hope you enjoy it....
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Soda Stream Sparkling Water

When the waiter asks what kind of water I say "tap," but my other half says "sparkling." Until recently we had been drinking plain filtered tap water at home, but not anymore, now our water sparkles there too. My dad used to buy seltzer water in cans by the case and then by the liter until he got a carbonating machine. He's been raving about it for ages, so when Soda Stream offered me a unit to review I said sure. Soda Stream sells an entry level soda machine for under $100 and frankly, I can't imagine why you'd buy any other model. It's easy to use, takes up barely any counter space and doesn't even require an electrical outlet. You do have to buy carbonator cartridges, but the cost per liter comes out to only about 20 cents. I'm particularly impressed that the water bottles you get with the machine keep the water very fizzy even after they have been repeatedly opened and closed. I'm fine with a glass of sparkling water garnish...
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Culinary Vacation in Campania

It's hard to believe it was a year ago I travelled to Campania to eat, explore and enjoy. I saved many of my discoveries for an article and slide show that is now up on Epicurious. Please head over for a peek at A Culinary Vacation in Campania , The top nine things to eat and drink in Naples, Benevento, Sorrento, Amalfi, and Salerno, including pizza, cheese, and pasta....
Monday, July 20, 2009

Salmon with Kiwi Sauce Recipe

I hate wasting food but sometimes it happens. I buy too much of something or it just gets lost in the back of the fridge. The worst is when I buy a lot of food and then am not home to cook it. Some foods can be saved like mushy bananas that become banana bread. Floppy carrots, onions and celery go in my chicken stock to give it flavor. I always used to throw away overripe kiwi fruit, but not anymore. In addition to my kiwi cake recipe, I discovered that mashed kiwis make a great sauce for fish. Next time you have overripe kiwi fruit, try mashing it in a bowl and tasting it. It's tangy and sweet at the same time. The crunch of little seeds adds nice texture. I added Asian flavors and put the resulting sauce on top of a simply cooked piece of salmon, but I bet this sauce would be good on halibut, scallops, shrimp or even fried calamari. The sauce keeps in fridge for at least 3 days. Another way to use mashed kiwi fruit is in guacamole. It has an amazing ability to keep your gua...
Saturday, July 11, 2009

Julie & Julia:The Movie

Last week, thanks to Sony Pictures , I saw a special preview screening of Julie & Julia . The screenplay for the film was adapted from two books: My Life in France , Julia Child's autobiography, co-written with her grand-nephew Alex Prud'homme, and Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. One book recounts (among other things) how Mastering the Art of French Cooking came to be, and the other is how one woman cooked every single recipe in it, in the space of a year. I also got to see a presentation with a past Top Chef contestant , the author Julie Powell and one of the primary supporting actors Chris Messina , but the most intriguing person I met associated with the film was the culinary consultant, Susan Spungen . She and an assistant managed to prepare and cook every single dish in the movie as well as prep the cooking scenes. Susan Spungen is a cook, food stylist, editor and cookbook author . She worked as food editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine for over 10 ye...
Monday, July 06, 2009

Kiwi Matcha Lime Tea Cake Recipe

I remember when kiwi fruit first started showing up in the market and were a real novelty. It's funny to think they were originally named for their brown exterior, because I now think of kiwi as the vibrant green color of the fruit inside. Back in the 80's they seemed to appear exclusively in fruit tarts, providing a bright color contrast. Kiwi fruit is in season at the moment and thanks to a surplus, I've been experimenting. It turns out, they are surprisingly versatile and can take the starring role in many recipes. There are two kinds of kiwi fruit commonly available and they are different both in look and taste. The green variety is tangy and has a citrus-like flavor. The yellow version is a little more elongated and tastes sweeter with tropical notes. Technically both are berries, refreshing and juicy with a little crunch of seeds. They are full of vitamins and good both raw or in recipes. One kiwi has more than 100% recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and con...