What the Hell am I Supposed to Do With All These Egg Whites?

As I mention in the custard-based ice cream recipes, egg whites can be refrigerated or frozen and used later. If you refrigerate them they should be used within a couple days; in the freezer they will last for a couple weeks.

Now there are quite a few ways to use them up. One is to simply beat a couple into your omelet or scrambled eggs in the morning. Another is meringue topping for a pie, or light meringue cookies (like French macarons). Coconut macaroons are always delicious (and easily frozen for a make-ahead dessert). Egg whites are great for sealing homemade pierogies or raviolis. My favorite way to use up a good amount of egg whites is making these utterly awesome friands, or tea cakes, from Ottolenghi.

To say I’m obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi is a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I love that man. The accessibility and ingenuity of his recipes never fails to surprise me. To date, I’ve easily made over 3 dozen of his recipes, and not one has been a flop. This is my favorite of his desserts.

Blackberry and Star Anise Friands

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A Cucumber Salad for Cucumber Haters

The other weekend I was going to a little cucumber-themed dinner party with some friends. Yep, cucumber-themed. Pretty specific, I know, but I love dinner parties so of course I was down. Here’s a secret, though: I really don’t like cucumbers very much. They’re one of the few foods I generally shy away from (other foods that receive that treatment from yours truly? Celery, eggplant, and licorice). I wasn’t going to be a theme-wrecker, though, so I decided to make a salad including, but not highlighting, the cukes. I also was in the mood to be healthy (if you don’t count the approximately 6 glasses of white wine I downed that night, oops).

This salad was really easy to throw together and it was a hit amongst my friends. Quinoa has always been one of my favorite grains, and it used to be considered kind of exotic, but these days it’s pretty easy to find. I combined that with fresh herbs and ruby red grapefruit (which, unlike cucumber, is one of my favorite flavors). The result? Light, fresh, sweet, sour, a bit spicy, and waaaaay too easy to eat.

Grapefruit-Cucumber Quinoa Salad

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And She Ate the Pepper, Raw

I used to work in the basement of a converted townhouse for a political polling firm. My co-worker and friend Ruth used to visit me around 11 am; that’s when she took a snack break. She’d bring a knife, a plate and one green bell pepper.

She’d cut a slice. Eat it raw. One whole green pepper.

That was years ago, right when I started playing around in the kitchen. I never cooked with bell peppers because I would just think of Ruth and that raw, raw pepper. I thought of peppers as a snack. Soon I realized peppers turn into wonderful things once cooked, once broiled, once roasted, once whizzed around in a blender and turned into a sauce.

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And That’s How I Fell in Love With Almonds

Fuck pine nuts dude. Now I don’t normally spite shit just because it’s expensive. I will pay for nice cheeses, maybe a duck salami, homemade cream cheese spun with sun-dried tomatoes. But I just can’t get into footing the bill for pine nuts.

And I’m glad, because then I never would have fell in love with almonds.

It was Bennett’s turn to cook. We thought of this baked orzo dish with lots of vegetables from the market. And pesto. A thick pesto sauce blanketing every little noodle.

I was typing in the bedroom. But couldn’t resist checking in on Bennett. I spied him cutting a pepper, letting almonds dance on a dry pan. And it smelled wonderful. Like warmth and butter.

Modern Man played out of his Android and I quickly wiggled my neck around, pursing my lips, dancing from the shoulders up.

He slid the almonds from the pan and into the blender, grinding them into crumbs. Honestly, we could have tossed the crumbs with oil and have been set. But we put the whole package together with salt and pepper and cheese and basil.

We threw the extra crumbs in the freezer, which have since been blended with Swiss chard and Colman’s mustard for a slightly bitter pesto (pictured above as a spread for a sandwich of oven-dried tomatoes and patty pan sqaush) and then combined with Parmesean to top a baked tomato stuffed with Jersey corn, jalepeno and scallions.

And that’s how I fell in love with almonds.

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Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…

Plate It: Saffron Chai

We’re already fans of chai lattes, but adding a hint of rich, flavorful saffron makes this taste like drinking a cup of gold. Available from Jaipur Avenue.

Hate It: Bacon Soda

We’re told you many times that bacon will never die, but it’s time for fake bacon flavor to take a hike. We loved this idea when we heard about it last year, but now that it has hit the market it turns out we actually like our soda to taste like corn syrup, not pork syrup.

Plate It: Whipped Cream Vodka


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Get Your Ass to an Indian Grocery Store

Get your ass to an Indian grocery store. I can’t even pretend to start this post with a cute little intro. You just need to find one, budget an hour plus of browsing time, and thank me later. The store will amaze you with its aisles of spices and spice blends, varieties of dal and boxes and boxes of in-minutes dinners. I’ve never purchased a Lean Cuisine but for some reason I thought it was perfectly acceptable to buy boil-in-a-bag, ready-in-2-minute versions of palak paner (spinach and cheese), chana masala (chickpeas in tomato sauce), dal makhani (creamy black dal) and paner makhani (cheese in a cashew cream sauce). I haven’t tried them yet, as I’m saving them for a night I can’t bare to cook.

In the meantime, another purchase inspired me to actually cook. And my about-to-expire Greek yogurt became the perfect addition to my almost-Indian dinner.

And don’t worry, I’ll try to stop my love-of-the-dash current obsession for the recipe portion of this post.

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Bacon Streusel Maple Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Stats, spreads, percentages…um, let’s talk about what really matters during the Super Bowl. Commercials, the half-time show and of course — food! All the other stuff is extraneous, unless of course you win the pool, in which case football is great.

As for the food, the Super Bowl calls for a dessert sophisticated enough to bring to an event, but crowd-pleasing enough to…well, please a crowd. Enter the Super Bowl Cupcake.

The streusel on top framing that thick cloud of maple cream cheese frosting is not your everyday streusel. That my friends, is crushed bacon wrapped in some cayenne and brown sugar for a sweet and spicy flavoring, then paired up with some crushed almonds for added nutty goodness. This is the kind of killer combination that will make you glad you publicly declared to eat better for your New Year’s resolution.

Bacon Streusel Maple Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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