Learning to cook Indian food

I haven’t posted on this blog in a long, long time, mostly because I haven’t been cooking anything interesting the last few years. After getting divorced I moved apartments way too many times and ate delivery way more than anything else.

Well, now that I own my own place and at least don’t have to move ever again if I don’t want to, I’ve slowly started to get interested in cooking again.

So much so that last weekend, I took an Intro to Indian Cooking class at ICE, the Institute for Culinary Education, and it was great fun. There were about 15 of us in the class and we made everything from Chicken Tikka Masala to Vegetable Pakora to Saag Paneer. Here are some photos of the process:

The best thing about this class is that it removed my fear of Indian spices. I usually cook Latin style or French style, so this way way outside my wheelhouse. We came home with recipes for all the dishes we made, and even if some of the masala spice mix we made. I’m looking forward to trying some of these recipes at home now!

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

When the weather is rainy and dreary, I seem to always crave chili! This slow-cooker chili recipe came indirectly from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen, so you know that a lot of trial and error went into this before it reached my recipe-altering hands. While I love their diligence and scientific approach to cooking, I’ve found that most of their recipes are a bit, well, boring to me. They’re like perfectly perfect non-interesting versions of whatever food is being featured. And while there’s something to be said for that, it’s not usually what I’m going for when I cook at home. So I’ve learned to take what they say to heart and then change it . . . read on for my kicked-up version of their basic slow-cooker chili recipe.

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Bon Appetit December 2011 Must-try recipes

The onset of cold weather (even if it is still off-and-on here in NYC) always makes me want to dive back into cooking in a serious way. Yesterday I made norwegian meatballs and today I’ve spent the better part of the morning pouring over and dog-earing pages of the new Bon Appetit magazine.

My must-try list for this issue is kinda ridiculous, but can you blame me? There’s a whole section devoted to potatoes. Swoon.

 

Daily Photo: OUCH!

I was slicing up some cucumbers this morning when my knife slipped and sunk into my middle finger right below the nail. It more surprised me than hurt, but boy did the little cut bleed like crazy! Thankfully it wasn’t so bad and I was able to continue breaking down the cukes. The spears are now soaking in the brine, you can see them in the background of this picture.

I’ll have homemade dill pickles in about a month! Totally worth a little blood loss.

Daily Photo: Poutine, in New York!

So a few months ago, my BFF Shana started talking about a new place called Mile End in Brooklyn. Apparently they’re “a montreal jewish delicatessen” and she knew just what that meant, being Jewish and partly Canadian. Me? I had no idea what to expect.

Then this giant disco-fry-looking thing showed up at our table and I was like, “OH. I see why you were so excited!” That’s right, it’s poutine in New York City, my friends. Run, don’t walk to Brooklyn to get your hands on this wonderful monstrosity. You can’t have this sort of thing often (or rather, you shouldn’t have this sort of thing often), but everyone should try it at least once!

You’re welcome.

(and sorry!)

Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Seeds and Leeks

We’re in full-on summer here in NYC and it’s blatantly obvious lately. It’s almost-brutally hot every day and night, extra-humid every time there’s a quick thunderstorm, and everyone and their brother is always throwing a BBQ for any (or no) reason.

On Monday, to celebrate Independence Day, my friend Kimberly threw a BBQ in her backyard. She’s got one of the most impressive outdoor spaces I’ve seen yet in the city, big enough to fit 30 people! We ate everything from staples like hot dogs and burgers to totally-not-traditional rice balls, and it was all really really good. My contribution? This Fingerling Potato Salad from the July 2011 issue for Bon Appetit. Step-by-step photos and the recipe after the jump!

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Finally FINALLY settled into the new place

Phew. Long time no see! I’m sorry for being gone so long, but a combination of moving into a new apartment and the day job going into overdrive meant that cooking was the last thing on my mind for the last two months. But I think I may be back now!

Part of the problem I was having is that my new place has a simply pathetic kitchen. It’s very typical by NYC standards but it’s a far cry from what I’d gotten used to at my last few apartments . . . but it’s a tradeoff, like everything else about real estate. The new place is cheaper than my old one, in a “cooler” neighborhood, and a 5-minute walk to my office! All of that makes it worth the negatives, like the fact that it’s a 5th-floor walk up, tiny, and has a crappy kitchen.

What you see above is the kitchen I’ve ended up with so far, but I’m not quite done making tweaks and changes. When I first moved in here, the fridge was next to the stove (where the baker’s rack is) and there was nearly no storage space at all. Moving the fridge to the opposite wall and adding the baker’s rack has done wonders for the functionality of the space: I not only have more storage area, I also got a bit of counter space next to the stove. That space is priceless in my opinion!

I haven’t put the kitchen through it’s paces yet because of a lack of time, but with my new CSA season starting next week I can feel the cooking mojo coming back. Cooking content coming soon, pinky swear!