London’s Calling: Magic Corn

Magic Corn Standg

Magic Corn Stand

This is what I least expected to find in London: a street cart selling nothing but steamed corn.  But yesterday, touring around with Mr. English and Mr. and Mrs. Miami on the South Bank, I saw this stand.  Magic Corn, it read on the sign strapped above the cart.  “Magic corn?”  I thought.    What can it do?

Magic Corn Flavors

Magic Corn Flavors

It was that question that I asked the salesman behind the cart.  He showed me a huge sac of frozen corn kernels, that instead of putting into an oil popper, he put into a huge vat steamer.  No added fat.  I was excited!  Then, he asked what flavor I wanted.  I was torn, but I told him cheese.  He added some suspicious orange cheese spread, and that kind of cheddar popcorn topping to some hot corn in a thermos, and started shaking it like a martini.  He gently poured the nuggets of cheesy corn in a little Styrofoam cup and handed it to me.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | 4 Comments
Share

Categories: London, Restaurants, Voyages
 

French in a Flash: Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

RECIPE: Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I love eating pasta.  And I love eating pasta in France, because they do Italian with such French flare.  Ratatouille over rigatoni.  Roquefort cream sauce over ribbons of pappardelle.  Brick-red pistou slathered on spaghetti.  It’s just so good, and somehow, so French!

This pasta dish is sort of a giant mushroom duxelles piled on top of fettuccine.  I always write that crème fraîche is a magic ingredient, because it just refuses to separate.  You can do anything to it, and it is completely resilient.  Add some in with the mushrooms in this dish, and you have an instant cream sauce, full of woodland flavors of mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme, that wraps itself around the expectant pasta.  I love this dish because it is earthy, and easy.  Perfect as a side next to some seared and sliced steak.  Or on its own with a drizzle of truffle oil.  Magnifique.

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine Zoom

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine
serves 4 to 6

Creamy Mushroom FettuccineIngredients

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium organic chicken stock (use water if vegetarian)
  • 1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cut in eigths
  • 1 extra large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • The leaves from 2 large stems fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound dry fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Procedure

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  In a small covered pot, heat the stock and dried mushrooms together over medium heat, to reconstitute the mushrooms.  In a large, high-sided braising pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes.  Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté on low until the shallot is soft, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the reconstituted dried mushrooms from the stock.  Add the stock to the fresh mushrooms and shallots, and cook until almost absorbed, 1 minute.  Turn of the heat, and cover the pot.

Salt the boiling water, and cook the fettuccine until al dente, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining.

In a mini food processor, blend together the reconstituted dried mushrooms and the crème fraîche.  Add the mixture to the fresh sautéed mushrooms, and stir to melt the crème fraîche into a sauce.  Toss in the pasta, and add just enough pasta water for the mushrooms mixture to lightly coat the strands of pasta.  Toss with Parmesan, and serve alongside a sliced seared steak, or on its own with a drizzle of black truffle oil.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 30 Minutes, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

Great Restaurant: Mercadito in Miami

Holy Molé!

There seems to be two schools of Mexican food.  The first is the kind of Mexican food you go to, to eat as much chips and melted cheese as you can until you pop like an overblown balloon.  Which I totally love.  And then there’s Mexican food, said with gravitas, made fresh fresh fresh, and with so much flavor it punches you in the mouth.  Which I love even more.  Both are hard to find in South Florida, which is surprising, given our population’s affinity for seafood and spice.

I grew up an hour outside of Miami, but now that many of my friends, including my best friend, Mrs. Miami, have moved there full-time, I have the occasion to venture in, and try some of the city’s hopefully best restaurants.  We’ve had some hits and we’ve had some misses: last Friday night at Mercadito was a HIT.  Imagine three Mexican-starved twenty-somethings–me, Mrs. Miami, and her fiancé Mr. Miami–, finally finding aqua fresca in a midtown oasis, inhaling guacamoles, other moles, and basically everything within the limitations of our table.  We were pretty hilarious in our enthusiasm.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | 2 Comments
Share

Categories: Restaurants, South Florida, Voyages
 

Great Ingredient: Microarugula

RECIPE: Tortellini with Cheese, Microarugula, and Pepper
Microarugula

Microarugula

If you’ve been reading my Serious Eats columns, you’ve probably been seeing this in a lot of posts.  I love microgreens: they’re like the powersuit of a home cook.  Use some in a dish and you look instantly professional.  They’re not cheap, about $6 at my local Whole Foods, but they’re perfect for something special.

Microarugula Tortellini Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

The Secret Ingredient (Black Pepper) Part II: Steak au Poivre with Truffled Microgreen Salad

RECIPE: Steak au Poivre with Truffled Microarugula
Steak au Poivre with Truffled Microgreens

Steak au Poivre with Truffled Microgreens

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I’ve been doing something I never thought I’d do: researching black pepper.  I wasn’t surprised to find that it is the most in-demand spice on the market, or that it causes sneezing.  But did you know that the green peppercorn, which I often buy in brine, is just the unripened black peppercorn?  Or that the white peppercorn is just the black peppercorn without its little black outer shell?  Or that Egyptian mummies had black peppercorns stuffed up their noses?  Or that the peppercorn might be the very reason America was discovered, as explorers searched for ways to find their ways to eastern spice markets?  We do owe the little black peppercorn a debt of gratitude, so I am glad you can find it on almost every single table, right next to the salt.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient
 

Franglais: Peanut Butter and Jelly Madeleines

RECIPE: Peanut Butter and Jelly Madeleines
Peanut Butter and Jelly Madeleines

Peanut Butter and Jelly Madeleines

Get the whole story at The Huffington Post.

I always loved Valentine’s Day in lower school.  I would trot home, backpack brimming with little mini postcards bedazzled in amorous mugshots of Pepe Le Pew, or the heart-shaped curve of the neck of My Little Pony.  The bottom of my bag would be a morass of red glitter, ripped paper doilies, and crushed SweetHearts, imperially commanding to “Kiss Me.”  But even though it’s nice to know that everybody loves you (after all, didn’t the teacher insist that everyone give everyone valentines?), it’s still so much better to know that you pair off perfectly with just one person.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: Bakery, Bread & Butter, Breakfast & Brunch, Cheap, Eat, Franglais, Recipes, Series, Sweets, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: Tapenade and Warm Goat Cheese Tartines

RECIPE: Tapenade and Warm Goat Cheese Tartines with Microgreens
Tapenade and Goat Cheese Tartine

Tapenade and Goat Cheese Tartine

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

There is something so comforting about spreads–and I think it has something to do with the fact that they get spread on bread, the most comforting of all foods.  So flavorful and so distinct, they are the colorful bedspread tossed over a feathery bread, something bright over something basic but requisite.  And of course, as with a bedspread, the one you grew up with is the one that reminds you of home.  For me, I will always have tapenade and peanut butter–not together, of course.  Although, that might be interesting.

The thing about spreads is that you buy them in a jar, you keep them on hand, and you eat them only when you want to fill that little four o’clock void.  But because they are so distinct, and you do always have them onhand, eating them is so reminiscent of all the times that came before it that they become perhaps the least glamorous of your foods, but also your favorites.  Growing up, we always had black olive tapenade in the fridge.  Coming home from school, I would find the end of a ficelle, and dip it right into the jar.  Salty, and fruity in the way only olives are, the kind of paste that gets stuck in your teeth and falls off the bread.  I loved it, and I still do.  So much fun and flavor with so little effort.  I spend a lot of time thinking up recipes that will impress, and I forget what really impresses me!  And that is simple, hearty food that feels like home, but still looks and tastes beautiful.  That is this tartine–I smother toasted French sourdough with store-bought tapenade, crumble some fresh chèvre cheese on top, and broil it until the cheese softens and just begins to toast.  Toss a tender and peppery salad of microarugula, olive oil, and fleur de sel on top, and you have this incredible, sophisticated, completely easy lunch or dinner (or, if I’m eating, even breakfast!).

Tapenade and Warm Goat Cheese Tartines with Microgreens
serves 2

Tapenade and Goat Cheese TartineIngredients

  • 4 slices pain au levain, or other dense, crusty bread
  • 8 teaspoons tapenade, divided
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup micro arugula
  • 1 scant teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch fleur de sel

Procedure

Preheat the broiler.  Lightly toast the bread.  Spread each slice of bread with 2 teaspoons tapenade, covered the entire surface of the bread.  Crumble 1 ounce goat cheese all over each slice of bread.  Broil for 5 minutes.  Toss the micro arugula with olive oil and salt.  Cut the tartines in half, and top with micro arugula salad.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | 1 Comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series, Vegetarian