Monthly Archives: October 2012

Recipe: Kerala Beef Stew

With the impending visit from Hurricane Sandy looming over us, Frank and I made a beeline for the grocery store to stock up on ingredients to make some hearty food that would keep us full and warm while we were stuck inside. I made this recipe from Bon Appétit a few weeks ago for the first time, and it was literally so good that I forgot to take photos before we devoured it, so this seemed like the perfect excuse to whip up another batch.

Kerala is a state in southwestern India (thank you, Wikipedia) where coconut palms are abundant, hence the addition of coconut milk into this delicious beef stew! When I saw that this recipe called for three serrano chilies, I was a little wary — we like some heat, but I’m a wimp when it comes to anything that hurts too much. As it turns out, the cooking seemed to mellow out the peppers, giving the soup a little zing without too much of a harsh bite. Honestly, I had a bigger problem with my fingers burning from the capsaicin (aka the chemical in peppers that makes them spicy) after just cutting the peppers.

I really love the chunky vegetables in this soup, as does my carrot-hating boyfriend who can just easily avoid eating them since they are in large pieces. The pearl onions are a special treat, as they really soak up the flavors of the soup nicely and add a texture that you just don’t get with a diced onion. Oh, and did I mention that this one is even better re-heated the next day? It’s a total win!

Hope everyone is staying safe and dry! As I write this, we’re watching our lights flicker and just waiting for the power to go out.

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Fall Flavors

I’m feeling very happy about the return of fall foods into our diets — I love incorporating carotene-rich foods like squash and sweet potatoes into our dinners. In a way, the natural sweetness of these kinds of foods makes them more of a treat to eat than a healthy food.

In other slightly unhealthy food news, I’m also having a great time incorporating some delicious fall flavor into my favorite treat: macarons! I tried out a new flavor combination last week that proved to be quite delicious: caramel apple! I’m a fan of caramel apples, but my one problem with them is that I am always tempted to just eat the caramel off of the outside and leave most of the apple uneaten (I know, I know… the point of a caramel apple is that there is an APPLE involved). These macarons were the perfect solution: sweet apple-flavored buttercream mixed with a buttery homemade caramel filling (Food52 had a great feature on making your own caramel last week). I dusted the top of these green beauties with a touch of cinnamon, and voila! Equally tasty parts of apple (ok, so it was in a buttercream — sue me) and caramel in a compact macaron bite! What fall flavors are showing up in your kitchen lately?

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Cookies for Breakfast!?

Now, I know what you’re thinking based on the title — but I promise you, this is WAY better than Cookie Crisp cereal could ever dream of being!

I first heard of Levain Bakery through a friend who was excited that they were opening a location in West Harlem, not far from where we both live. She raved about the cookies there, but I didn’t really think much of it. I make plenty of cookies at home, so I don’t typically go out of my way to buy them.

Then, almost a year later, my boyfriend and I are watching a show on The Cooking Channel and THERE THEY ARE! Levain cookies. But they aren’t just cookies… think of what you would get if a delicious chocolate chip cookie had a baby with a scone, and there you have a Levain cookie.

We personally like to eat these guys for breakfast (not every day, obviously). The outside of the cookies are crisp and slightly flaky like a scone, while the inside is soft and slightly undercooked like all of the best cookies that I’ve ever had. My favorite flavor is the chocolate chip walnut, which feels like a slightly refined version of a chocolate chip cookie. But there are other tempting and chocolate-y flavors as well, like double chocolate and chocolate peanut butter. On top of being absolutely delicious, I also have to give these guys major props for being really nice! We rolled out of bed early this past Sunday and took our loaner dog (we were pet sitting) up to the bakery to grab breakfast for ourselves and my parents who were staying with us. When we arrived at the bakery we discovered that it was still 20 minutes until they opened, but the nice people there took pity on us and let us come in to grab our cookies early so that we didn’t have to wait around!

One last thing — you might think that $4 is a bit pricey for one cookie, but rest assured that this thing EASILY feeds two people. We didn’t even finish three of them between four adults. Completely and totally worth it!

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