Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010

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Happy New Year, Blogosphere!  Looking back at 2010, I'm really quite proud of the posts I've shared.  It's been a pretty big year for me in my personal life as well, as I finished culinary school (take 2 for my career!), moved to New York City, and interned at the Food Network (every foodie's dream).  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite posts from this past year!  I really wanted to re-post them all, but that would be wrong ;-)  I know a lot of bloggers are doing it, and I just can't help but jump on the bandwagon.  This may be nostalgic for some readers who have been following me from the beginning, or it may be completely new material for my most recent followers.  Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!  Happy 2011!!

Recipes

Chicken and Corn Enchiladas Verde with Refried Black Beans




Indian Birthday Feast (Potato-Pea Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Raw Onion Relish, Butter Chicken, Basmati Rice, and Red Lentil Dal)



Buffalo Chicken Pizzas



Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with Candied Mint Leaves



Macaroni and Cheese for Seda



Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Mint-Walnut Pesto



Fried Green Tomato Parmesan



Chilaquiles



Tapas Party Menu



Fresh Corn Soup with Corn-Herb Salad



Manti



Matzoon Cookies



Carrot-Red Lentil Soup with Asian Spices, and Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches



Sweet Potato-Black Bean Empanadas



BLT Sandwich with Fried Egg and Cheese



Purple Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Cardamom Whipped Cream



Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Sage Croutons



Crack Pie



Cranberry-Cinnamon Goat Cheese



Restaurants

Union Square Cafe



Nick's on Broadway



The Duck and Bunny



Castle Hill Inn (Post 1, Post 2)



The Breslin



Shake Shack



Cafe Mogador (Post 1, Post 2)



Petrarca



Cafeteria



Bar Boulud



Alice's Tea Cup



Scarpetta



Other Posts

Tea Week: Did You Know?



Tea Week: A Myriad of Flavors



Tea Week: Brewing Tea is An Art



The Importance of Bread and Butter



Honey, I'm Home!



Smoked Salmon Revelations



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry-Cinnamon Goat Cheese & Guest Post

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Happy (almost) New Year to all of my wonderful readers!  2010 has been a great year for Mission: Food.  Although the blog existed since early 2009, it didn't really have much of a following until this year.  I have had lots of culinary adventures to share, and am really looking forward to new culinary discoveries in the upcoming year.  I'm also so excited today because I have not one, but two awesome recipes which would be perfect for New Year's (and just in time)!  The first is a guest post on one of my favorite food blogs, Lazaro Cooks.  I was so flattered when Lazaro asked me to share something with his readers, and after much thought, I decided to share a simple and elegant pasta dish utilizing squid ink spaghetti, fresh crab meat, garlic confit, lemon, and white wine.  It looks impressive, but is easy to put together, and I love the way the white crab meat contrasts with the black pasta!  Head on over to Lazaro Cooks to see the full recipe :)


The second recipe I'm sharing was inspired by a log of cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese that my friend purchased at East Village Cheese in NYC as part of her birthday cheese plate she served before dinner.  It was possibly a life-changing cheese experience, because I really never would have thought cranberry and cinnamon slathered all over a log of goat cheese would be so addictively awesome!  I have seen other "cranberry goat cheese" logs at grocery stores, but they don't look nearly as good as the one we had from East Village Cheese, and the others look like they are simply rolled in chopped dried cranberries, which is inferior to the version we had, which was basically coated in thick, cinnamon-infused cranberry sauce.


My version turned out great and was so easy to make.  It was a little messy to unwrap and serve without getting cranberry sauce all over the place, so I gently lifted it with 2 spatulas from the plastic wrap onto a serving plate.  I think if you're less neurotic than I am, you can easily plop the log straight from the plastic wrap onto the serving platter, or use your hands (like a normal person).  I'm just crazy :)  This was certainly addictive, and I will be making this over and over and over again.  Next time I might add even more cinnamon to really highlight that flavor, but it was amazing even with just 1 teaspoon of the spice.


My friend recollects that the goat cheese she purchased cost about $3.99 or so at East Village Cheese (known for their great cheeses at incredibly reasonable prices), but since a) the cheese is probably very seasonal at the cheese shop and b) I don't really expect most of you to fly to NY to buy a hunk of cheese, I think making it yourself is a better idea, even if it ends up costing a few bucks more.  I find that Trader Joe's sells their goat cheese a lot cheaper than most supermarkets, who sell the smaller logs of goat cheese for the same price that TJ's sells the big ones for.  I hope you try this out, as it is an amazing flavor combination!!  And definitely don't forget to check out the guest post!!  Maybe these two dishes will make it to your New Year's Eve menu...


Cranberry-Cinnamon Goat Cheese
Makes 1 large goat cheese log

6 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
11 oz. log goat cheese
Crackers, for serving

Add the cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, and cinnamon to a medium saucepan and heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about 8 to 10 minutes. The cranberries will pop, the mixture will foam and subside, and the sauce will get thick as the cranberries break down. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.


Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Spread about 1/2 cup of the thick cranberry sauce onto the plastic wrap, a bit longer and wider than the goat cheese log. Lay the goat cheese log on top of the cranberry sauce and spread more sauce over the top and sides of the goat cheese (much like frosting a cake). There should be about 1/4-inch thick layer of cranberry sauce over all the sides of the goat cheese. Wrap the plastic wrap around the cranberry-coated goat cheese log and refrigerate. Remove the goat cheese from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to allow the cheese to slightly soften and become easier to spread. Carefully unwrap the plastic wrap and serve the cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese with crackers.





Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Momofuku's Crack Pie

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Cereal Milk Ice Cream.  Compost Cookies.  Crack Pie.  These are all trademarked items from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City.  The entire Momofuku brand has an incredible reputation in New York and to foodies all around.  From savory to sweet, the various Momofuku restaurants showcase innovative cuisine.  The Crack Pie is infamous.  I mean, they call it Crack Pie for a reason... it's addicting (and also really, really bad for you).  To purchase a pie of your own from Momofuku Milk Bar would cost you $44.  Yes, it's seriously a $44 pie!  So if my math is correct, then 2 pies would cost $88.  So then the recipe I'm about to share with you is an $88 recipe, because it makes 2 delectable Crack Pies.


I made these for Christmas this year, and served one on Christmas Eve and one on Christmas Day.  I think my secret goal this Christmas was to slowly kill my entire family by giving them diabetes and high cholesterol in the form of Crack Pie... just saying, this pie is very sweet and contains a lot of fattening ingredients (it reminds me a bit of pecan pie without the pecans).  But it's just so good, and it has an oatmeal crust so you feel like your being 1% healthy and only 99% bad!  After the first few bites, I thought it was a bit too sweet for my taste, but then I polished off half a pie within a few days (which probably shows more restraint than others).  I've never tried crack, but I can imagine that's how you get addicted.  You try it once, and you feel a little guilty, and then you keep going back for more.  Against all better judgement.  Like with this pie.  Enjoy it in moderation, because eating too much probably would give you early onset diabetes :)


Part of the fun of making these pies was that I got to use the beautiful, lovingly hand-painted pie dish that my best friend gave me.  She painted a gorgeous rose inside the dish, and around the inside edges she wrote some lyrics from one of our favorite songs, "For Me Formidable" by Charles Aznavour :)  It's such a special and unique pie dish, and I was thrilled to use it for one of the 2 pies I made.  That's the great thing about the holidays, surrounding yourself with your friends and family, and of course when any of those friends or family are absent, you can surround yourself with things that remind you of them, like this one-of-a-kind pie dish.  Thanks, twin!  It was the perfect vessel for some gooey, delicious Crack Pie!



Crack Pie
Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)
(Adapted from the Los Angeles Times)

Note: Adapted from Momofuku. This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling and chilling times

Cookie for Crust:
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.


Crust:
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.



Filling:
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.


Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.


Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.




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