A Sarcastic Appetite


Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Sprinkles
September 28, 2009, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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Having recently added “rolling pin” to my list of “kitchen gadgets with only one use that are taking up increasing amounts of space in my tiny kitchen,” I figured I may as well do something about it. I had a vision of sugar cookies with some kind of sprinkle topping, and sure enough old Irma Rombauer pulled through with a doozy. One downside: my kitchen was a real mess, even hours after the last cookie had been pulled from the oven. I’m not really sure how that flour got into every single nook and cranny in the joint.

The other problem is that my rolling and cookie cutting skills are, um, embarrassingly elementary. So they look kind of lopsided, and some are ovals as opposed to circles, and some have crazy lumps and aren’t even vaguely flat – like I cut into a little hill of dough as opposed to a nice, flat surface that was evenly 1/4″ thick. Figures. But there are few things that heaps of chocolate sprinkles won’t fix, and this is no exception. And they really are sneakily delicious, which I can say with certainty because there are five fewer cookies where there were before and I’m the only one home and I’m not really sure how that happened.

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Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Sprinkles

From Joy of Cooking. Makes about 36 2″ cookies.

2 sticks butter, softened slightly

2/3 c. sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. flour

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Beat in the flour until just blended; divide the dough up into two disks and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes but more like an hour if you can wait that long.

Preheat the oven to 350º and grease or line your cookie sheets. Roll out the dough and cut with 2″ cutters – I tried little lobster cookie cutters, but this failed miserably, so it’s probably best to stick with something simple. You know, like a circle. Keep rolling and cutting and refrigerate your dough for a bit again if it gets too warm and tacky.

Arrange the cookies on a sheet and press heaps of chocolate sprinkles or whatever kind of topping you want on there; bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden. Let them cool for a minute or so on the sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely. These are just as good the next day, which I can say for certainty since I just–nevermind. This is getting embarrassing.



Cashew Curry Chicken
September 24, 2009, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’re not in Kansas anymore.

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Check it out, kiddies! I got a new camera, which means we’re now cooking with gas. Or color. Or whatever.

I know, I know, it doesn’t look terribly appetizing, but you know really good Indian food doesn’t most of the time anyway. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it. And eat it. And ideally sooner, rather than later.

This was a revelation. When nine ingredients comprise dinner, and one of those ingredients is water, and the result is sneakily rich without the weight of cream and hotly spicy, well, I’m sold. I thought this would be good. I vastly underestimated it.

Cashew Chicken Curry

Adapted from this Serious Eats recipe. I doubled the saucy part and I don’t regret it for a moment.

Serves 2ish.

1/2 c. salted cashews

1 nice sized red onion; half sliced thinly and half cut into rough chunks

1/2 c. cilantro, roughly chopped

1 c. water

2 tbsp. nice olive oil

about 1 lb. chicken tenders, cut in half width-wise (or boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks)

lots of salt and pepper

1/2 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a Cuisinart or blender, puree the cashews, cilantro, and roughly cut onion until smooth. Add half of the water and some salt, puree again until smooth. Set aside.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil, then add the thinly sliced onion; saute for 5 or 6 minutes at brisk heat until it begins to brown. Add the cilantro sauce and let it bubble away, stirring every now and again, for several minutes, until it thickens down  and most of the water evaporates. Season the chicken with salt and pepper before adding it to the pan; cook, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes.

Add the other half cup of water, along with the garam masala and cayenne pepper, and a bit more salt and some pepper. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. You might feel inclined to let it go a little longer in order to let the sauce thicken; I couldn’t be bothered.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of September 24
September 24, 2009, 8:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Restaurant Round-Up is back with a vengeance this week, though I’m told it could use a little spicing up in the way of cowgirl-themed paraphernalia. I’d put it to a poll for you guys to see what you think, but I’ve never seen a group of individuals so wholly uninterested in answering one multiple choice question for fun (see: this), so I guess we won’t go there…

At any rate, I’m here to canvass the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few highlights:

Here’s a horrifying clip to start your morning off right: Guy Fieri, host of the inimitable “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” and owner of esteemed restaurants Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi, gets a bra thrown at him while on stage for a cooking demonstration. Seriously, I can’t even make this up.

The fall’s a busy time for restaurant openings; we’ve got Travertine from Top Chef alum Manuel Trevino, set to open October 6, the Standard’s new biergarten, open now, and the Park Avenue Cafe is now officially Park Avenue Autumn. Across the river, Armando’s is reopening in its original spot, 143 Montague Street, on Monday.

I did manage to make my way to the last of the MAD Crush pop-up wine events, but somehow missed this little number, courtesy of Wined & Dined: Bar Boulud does $29 tastings for 2 from 5-6pm, and again after 10pm. I know there are some iffy reviews out there, but if you sit at the bar and stick with the meats and cheeses, well, you can’t really go wrong.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Summer of 2009 was the summer of food trucks in New York, and the New York Times jumps on the bandwagon to review several. The Schnitzel & Things truck pounced on the opportunity, debuting a Schnitzel Burger yesterday that promptly sold out in 30 minutes. Midtown Lunch has the rundown.

Restaurant Girl tries Yerba Buena Perry and gives it a whopping four stars. Manchego croquetes, suckling pig, and watermelon fries? Ok, ok, I’ll bite…



Slightly Consoling
September 21, 2009, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The lights have been dark over here at A Sarcastic Appetite, not that I need to tell you four readers about it. Oh, actually, I think we’re down to three since one is in the DR for the year, ahem. (Hi, Tuna, if you get the internets down there and you’re reading this!)

At any rate – yes, it’s been quiet around here. I hope you’ll excuse me and look aside politely when I say I’ve been elsewhere. (Yeah, yeah, literally and figuratively and all that jazz.) I wasn’t around much this summer and my time in the kitchen suffered as a result – I didn’t do a lot of cooking and we’re now through the third summer when I said I would make gazpacho from local tomatoes and did I? Did I? No, of course not. Next year, I guess. Maybe next year.

I’ve been a little distracted. Reader(s), I’ve fallen in love….with the new book from Nigel Slater. Kitchen Diaries trumps everything else I’ve read food-wise, apart from Julia Child’s biography. (It’s called Appetite for Life and I highly recommend you look into that.) Slater, on the other hand, devotes a year to being conscious of what his family eats and where it comes from – and the result is a year of stripped down meals, with simple ingredients and straightforward preparation. Now if that doesn’t sound like my idea of lazy cooking all dressed up for a night on the town, well, I just don’t know what does. The man gets me, he really does (plus the book is printed on this really fabulous paper and did I mention the photography and the quintessentially British sense of humor? It’s a delight, really, it is).

Oh, did you think I was going to cook something from his new book? Dearie me, no, friends – I read 2 pages of it every night before passing out cold. What I can tell you about, though, are some crazy chocolate cookies I made yesterday. A brilliant weekend had ended and I needed something to cheer me up – and something that would require little manpower and pedestrian ingredients. I didn’t have the required full-fat yogurt, so I substituted creme fraîche (what, you don’t have that lying around?) – a handy trick, since they were billed as lowfat cookies and you and I both know I think that sounds pretty suspicious. They were only slightly consoling, but sometimes that will do the trick. For the time being, anyway.

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Chewy Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from this Orangette recipe, obviously. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

1 c. flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 stick butter, melted

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

7 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 c. plain yogurt, preferably not non-fat. (I, ahem, used creme fraîche. Delicious.)

1 heaping tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a larger microwaveable bowl, melt the butter. Add the sugars and the cocoa, then the yogurt and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, then add the chocolate chips. Throw some more in there if you get nervous like I do that there won’t be enough chocolate chips to go around.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the parchment paper, flattening their tops slightly if you can as you go along, and leaving ample room around each cookie. Bake for ten minutes or so – you want them set and starting to crack just slightly on top. Let them cool on the sheet for another ten minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of September 10
September 10, 2009, 7:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, kiddies, in case you hadn’t noticed, A Sarcastic Appetite has been pretty quiet lately. I was on vacation last week, but I’m back in action, canvassing the food blogs so you don’t have to. Here are a few highlights:

The hotly anticipated restaurant opening of this five minutes: The Breslin, brought to you by the peeps behind the Spotted Pig.

Eater wets its pants over news that Shake Shack is expanding….to Nolita. Stay tuned.

Restaurant Girl checks out Aureole’s new digs on 42nd Street, drools over the pastrami pork belly sliders but is unimpressed by the location. Three stars.

Holy Lobster Roll, Batman! $14 for one of those bad boys and I don’t even need to go to Red Hook to get it??? I’m there. In the meantime, if you want a seafood fix and don’t want to break the bank, Citysearch rounds up a list of “Cheap from the Deep.”

So Dow 9,000: NY Barfly rounded up a recent list…of bars that have closed. Pour one out for Elettaria, Kenny’s Castaways, The John Dory…ok this is too depressing. Better to drown your sorrows at The Anchor tonight, where $20 still gets you all you can drink from 7 to 9pm.

If you haven’t made the trek to Williamsburg to check out Motorino, well, fret no more: owner Mathieu Palombino is opening a second iteration of the pizza place in the old Una Pizza Napoletana space – and soon. The date’s set for September 14.