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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holidays Recipe - Mashed Celeriac, Parsnip, and Potato

FOOD + LIFESTYLE:

photo: wbj
The Holidays are a great time of the year to make this crowd-pleasing, rustic root vegetable mash featuring often overlooked and misunderstood, celeriac (commonly known as celery root in US).

In this Cooking Lounge Holidays Recipe, the potatoes provide volume and a familiar flavor base, the parsnip adds sweet, creamy, earthy goodness. The celeriac sends the mash over-the-top with hints of herbaceousness and celery along with hearty texture. The flavors and textures in the Mashed Celeriac, Parsnip and Potato stand out yet meld beautifully with butter and cream. 

photo: wbj + Nina Masuda
photo: wbj      
photo: wbj

At Cooking Lounge, the focus is simple ideas for better living; so, recipes are more of a guide than a how-to. As you get to know more about food, flavors, pairings, growing seasons, and simple techniques, you will be able to create amazing meals that work for you.

Mashed Celeraic, Parsnip and Potato 
2 lbs of new potatoes
1 lb parsnip
1 large bulb Celeraic (celery root) approximate wt 12 ounces - 1lb.
1 stick of butter
1 cup of half and half or cream
salt
pepper
fresh parsley

To slow oxidation, I put aside a large bowl with cold water and salt for the cut root vegetables to soak. Some recipes suggest lemon and water for the celeraic. The point is keep the ingredients from turning brown.

Celeraic is a tough skinned, ungainly bulb. I used Mastrad's Elios Y Vegetable Peeler for minimal loss of flesh. Also, the handle felt ergonomic so no cramping up when peeling lots of food. After peeling the celeraic, dice and drop in bowl of water until time to cook. Make the cubes of vegetables about 1 inch each so cooking times will be about the same. Continue with parsnip, peel, slice and dice, then add to bowl of water. Next the potatoes. Depending on the variety and taste preference, the potatoes can be skin on. The skin left on for this version.

Drain and rinse the root vegetables. Add to large pot of water with a teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cook on low until tender (fork pierces with ease).

Drain cooked celeraic, parsnip and potato; add to large bowl. Mash and stir until blended. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of half and half. Mix. Add remaining butter, half and half. Mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more half and half if desired. Remember this is a rustic mash so it WILL NOT be like a puree.

Return mixture to large pot and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it does not stick to pan. Place in a serving dish, top with rough chopped parsley. Mashed Celeraic, Parsnip and Potato are ready to serve. If you have more time, you can stud the top with butter and bake in a 350 oven until the top is golden brown. Mastrad's Orka silicone pot holder came in handy taking the mash out of the oven and; in a pinch, the Orka silicone pot holder worked as a trivet). You can even prepare Mashed Celeraic, Parsnip and Potato a day or so in advance; just heat and brown. Yummmm!

This post features products from innovative, international kitchenware brand, Mastrad. Mastrad sent a few items for Cooking Lounge to review. Not paid for the review. All opinions are solely Cooking Lounge. (BRANDS send more stuff. More to play with in the kitchen and more props.)

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Damon Albarn - Kinshasa One Two | DRC Music

Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) gathered a collective dubbed DRC Music for a creative and humanitarian expedition into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

DRC Music (T-E-E-D (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), Dan The Automator, Jneiro Jarel, Richard Russell, Actress, Marc Antoine + other artists) collaborated with homespun talent Bakatola System, Tout Puissant Mukalo, and many Congolese musicians.

The goal was to raise funds for Oxfam. Oxfam brings clean water, schools and food to impoverished regions. The inspired jams produced the Kinshasa One Two album.

The drcmusic.org website documents an incredible 7 Day recording session with photos, videos, a documentary trailer, compilation on Soundcloud, interviews, and more.

photo: drcmusic.org
Kinshasa One Two brings to mind Paul Simon recording Graceland in South Africa, with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and an array of national musicians. 

Source: Flavorwire

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Migliorelli Farm @ Union Square NYC

FOOD:
apples + cinnamon = perfect pair
photo: wbj
 Apple Pie, Apple Crisp, Applesauce, Apple Butter, Apple Cider...

Migliorelli Farm always has a variety of seasonal produce with great prices.

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Collard Greens with Lemon and Garlic

FOOD:
Collard Greens with Lemon and Garlic photo: wbj

Hearty greens are a winter staple that are coming into season. With the chill of Fall in the air, healthful and mega nutritious collard greens are available in abundance at a great price.

Collard Greens are the Ambassador of Soul Food and Southern Cooking. There is probably a collards recipe for every regional accent and dialect below the Mason-Dixon line. Growing up in Virginia, collard greens made regular appearances on the table. I was never a big fan; collards tended to be cooked with fatty smoked meat until withered and soft. I like dark-green leafy vegetables with a bit of life and color.

Collards, kale, mustard greens, and such are becoming popular across the country in trendy restaurants. Now, nutritionists extol the benefits that southern women may have always known in their old wives' tale way.

After experimenting with recipes for awhile, here's my favorite, Sauteed Collard Greens with Lemon and Garlic.

Large bunch of Collard Greens
1-2 lemons
Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Sugar
Crushed red pepper
This is a general guide; adjust to fit your taste and needs.
Wash and rinse the greens several times in cold water. Gritty greens are gross.
Remove the large center stem and any large veins in the leaf. 
Stack the leaves in piles. Roll up the pile of leaves and slice into thick strips, chiffonade style.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a low boil. Drop in the collard greens for 3 minutes to soften. Drain in a colander.
Heat a large skillet on low with olive oil. Add sliced garlic to taste. After a minute, add blanched collard greens and toss to mix garlic throughout. Turn up heat to medium. Cook collards for 5-7 minutes, mixing regularly. Want to make sure the garlic does not burn. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Toss and mix. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Toss and mix. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Adjust to taste. Drizzle on olive oil for final toss and mix. Garnish with thinly sliced lemons.

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Monday, September 19, 2011

"EAT like a MAN" and SAVE MONEY

FOOD and LIFESTYLE:
On Cooking Lounge, a constant theme is cooking to live better. When you SAVE MONEY, you can improve your lifestyle. In today's recessionary times, a few extra dollars is a godsend. Plus, you can have the added bonus of sharing a meal with friends or even a date.

Esquire has a how-to cooking guide out for men, "EAT like a MAN", aimed to blast away the fear and mystery of the kitchen. I can not say that I have followed the eponymous blog regularly on Esquire. I have clicked on a few links that brought me to the blog, usually worthwhile reading. At Cooking Lounge, we are all for anything that gets you into the kitchen to prepare a meal. "EAT like a MAN" was released early summer 2011, I discovered it through a NY Daily News article that had a spicy, sausage sandwich recipe. By the way, for the Hot Sauce Aioli, I would use olive oil and Tabasco Sauce.
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Carafe, Decanter, Box - What's Inside Matters

LIFESTYLE:
There is a nostalgic place in food culture filled with red-checkered tablecloths and carafes of house wine. Dining was a simpler affair - bereft of so much choice, so much foodie acumen. The carafe is center stage in romantic notions of smoky, European cafes. Add some candlelight; and, snap transported. 

A carafe is in the decanter family; but a name makes loads of difference. When decanters are part of the table scape, meals tick up a notch - the sparkle and clink of crystal, the timeless shapes. Decanters seem suited for the rarefied: aged whiskey, expensive cognac, fine wine. 

Wine in a box is an ultimate packaging versus product conflict. Boxed wine falls in with the twist off cap arguments about wine. Sure it might be practical, save natural resources, be economical, blah, blah, blah, BUT, the aesthetics. Oh, la, la. However, wine in a box is pushing it's visibility through design and gaining acceptability in the market.

What's inside is what matters. The New York Times, posted an article that rated wine in a box, "Thinking Inside the Box." One selection from Wineberry comes in a wooden box, perhaps a nod to the barrels of the artisanal craft. 
Carafes and decanters let you step away from the packaging and create your own sense of value, place and style while serving quality wine. Go ahead; buy some wine in a box then set a nice table.

Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cobble Hill and Court Street with Brandon Maya

Cooking Lounge explored Court Street in Cobble Hill with Brandon Maya. She is a chef and writer, who trained at the French Culinary Institute. Brandon Maya writes about food and shares recipes on her blog, Dresses & Appetizers

Cobble Hill is a Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood lined with great restaurants, food finds, and amazing chocolate (The Chocolate Room). Cobble Hill is a foodie haven that has become a destination for the hip and in-the-know. One block over is Smith Street, stacked with bars for carousing nights. We made a video of our walk around Cobble Hill in the Spring. Have a look.
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shepherds Pie

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FOOD:
Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie is an old school favorite but when not done right resembles scary cafeteria grub. One of the best things about Shepherds Pie is you can tailor the recipe to your taste, budget and servings needed. Go from rich and creamy to simple and low fat with ease. Making a meatless version works too. Add your own twist to Shepherds Pie. The Cooking Lounge Shepherds Pie recipe is traditional with the flavors bumped up a few notches. 
Shepherds Pie
Ingredients:
2lbs lean ground beef
1.5 lbs potatoes (peeled, diced and cooked)
2 large onions
10oz baby portabella mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, a bit more if you like
2.5 cups diced fresh carrots
1 cup green peas
fresh parsley 
dried herbs, try a mix of sage, tarragon and rosemary
olive oil
1/4 wine (red or white)
butter
milk/cream
salt 
pepper
Preparation Guide:
Saute mushrooms in butter with 1/8 cup white wine and a few tablespoons of milk or cream. Season to taste. Set aside. 
Saute onions in a little olive oil with salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Add diced carrots and continue to saute till carrots are tender but not soft. 
Saute ground beef; season with dried herbs, fresh garlic, salt and pepper plus 1/8 cup of white wine. Add fresh parsley when browned. Add the mushrooms in cream sauce that was put aside and mix in with the ground beef; set aside. 

Make your favorite version of mashed potatoes to top the Shepherds Pie then set aside. This is where you can get super creative by adding cheese, heavy cream, pureed celery root and so on. In the Cooking Lounge recipe, we went light on butter (add some olive oil) and milk/cream then mixed in some fresh chopped parley.

Time to combine the earthy ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350. In a large baking pan (13x9 or larger), spread the ground beef and mushroom mixture evenly, toss the peas on top next, then add the carrots and onions. Layering on the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the top with chopped parsley to add color. Bake until golden brown, approximately 35 minutes. 

I was hoping for leftovers; but, the Pearl St gang devoured the Shepherds Pie. Also, Shepherds Pie is an amazing, almost luxurious meal when made with lamb. Visit soon, more about lamb in upcoming post.
photos: wbj
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fresh Music Super Group: James Blake, Toro Y Moi, Janelle Monae

MUSIC:
SXSW ended days ago. Friends have returned filtering latest, greatest, new, best. So, that got me stuck on music artists I find exciting, fresh and individualistic. Here are three relatively new and unique faces of Fresh Music from Cooking Lounge.

Back in NYC after SXSW, my friend Nina turned me on to James Blake as a must listen. James Blake is an anomaly for me - electronic, dubstep, brit soul(hates being called a soul singer), experimental. Waves of lushness in down tempo music. Effusive praise seems to be the reaction to James Blake with his win of the BBC's Sound of 2011.

The self-titled debut album was released February 7, 2011. Checking out the YouTube videos made me think of Bryan Ferry. So maybe James Blake is not so ground breaking but instead well informed.
Toro Y Moi came on the Cooking Lounge radar in Spring 2010 after hearing "Causers of This", loopy, dreamy, chill electronica with catchy beats.

Toro Y Moi personifies the Chillwave moniker. "Speakeasy" in The Wall Street Journal tracked the trend and posted a Chillwave primer "Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend?".  

Toro Y Moi released his second album "Underneath the Pine" on February 22, 2011. "New Beat" is a bouncy lo-fi disco throwback.
Janelle Monae takes a bite of style from pop divas of the 80's onward but distills the influences into her own distinct art school infused future funk pop.

Signature tuxedo clad Janelle Monae keeps it sweet and alluring without veering off into overt sexuality or buffoonish exaggeration. ArchAndroid is her debut studio album release from May 18, 2010. The single "Tightrope" did well and had wide appeal.

ArchAndroid is a cosmic ride through genres that showcases Janelle's style, vocal range and best of all, humor.

Imagine these three on the same bill or same stage as a Super Group..futuristic awesomeness on blast.
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Interview_Margo Patisserie Cafe_Almond Croissant

FOOD:
Flaky, buttery croissants are a hard to find french staple, done properly, even in New York City. 
Margo Patisserie is a cozy cafe tucked away at the corner of Driggs & Fillmore Place, in uber locale of the moment, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Margo Patisserie is unpretentious, laid-back and authentic with selections from sweet to savory, along with outdoor seating and free wifi. Margo Patisserie caught my attention when I needed a quick afternoon bite. I went for a coffee and pain au chocolat (which was excellent) but kept staring at an empty row, flecked with pasty flakes, that had held almond croissants. Ummmm, almond croissants - not too sweet, moist, filling and rich. A few weeks later, I stopped and tried the almond croissant...one of the best ever. Supporting small, artisanal food businesses is good for the taste buds. Here's a video we shot with the owner, Margo, about making almond croissants at Margo Patisserie Cafe. The music is Tres Tres Chic from Mocean WorkerHave a look.
video:wbj
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hearty, 1 Hour, Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup

FOOD:
Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup
photo: wbj
For cold winter days, warming comfort food, especially soups and stews, is an easy choice. Soups and stews rank high because they tend to be one pot cooking that is seasonal, healthy, filling, easy and economical. The enveloping aroma of a simmering pot is a bonus.
After seeing racks of dried chiles in the back of NYC supermarkets and bodegas, and stumbling upon Mexican specialty stores, I started playing around with chiles - dried, fresh, smoked, pickled -  to see how the simple addition changed up familiar recipes. A dried Pablano pepper is an ancho chile. The Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup was a by chance combination that I found subtle and smokey with a hint of heat. Best part, this Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup can be in a bowl, ready to eat in nearly 1 hour, from start to finish. Freeze some soup for a fast meal later.

Here's the general details on making Ancho Chile Chicken and Chickpea Soup.
Base for the soup is a quick, rich, homemade chicken stock.  
Carrot, celery, onion, garlic sauteed. Add 1.5 quart of water (adjust amount if you want). Salt. Black Pepper. Bring to boil. Add 2lbs chicken breast, but thighs, legs work too. Can go skinless, boneless. Lower burner. Cook chicken for 25 minutes. When you remove the chicken, homemade chicken stock complete.
While chicken cooks, add 1 large Ancho chile. Few ways to to do this. Me: Remove stem and seeds, discard; throw chile in pot. 
Options: Remove stem;your choice on seeds; throw in food process; make coarse powder. Steam and soften in small pot;remove skin; dice, or puree chile in processor. Add to stock. Season to your taste. Add dash of cumin; dried herbs, fresh parsley, fresh herbs, do your thing. Try curry in place of cumin.
Keep an eye on the clock. Remove cooked chicken from pot; set aside to cool.
To chicken stock add, chick peas (1 can- drained and rinsed), 1/2 cup diced tomato, more fresh parsley and/or other herbs. I added some fresh chives because they were in the fridge. Optional: 1/2 cup rice (I used black rice); diced potatoes, corn...get creative;have some fun.
Remove the skin first if not skinless. Shred, cube, slice or chop the cooked chicken. Return chicken to pot. Cook on low heat for about 25 minutes. All done. Clocking approximately 1hr 10 minutes total time for an one pot meal with 6 servings. Remember to freeze a portion or two. This is a favorite after workout meal.
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Raphael Saadiq, "Radio" - Moving forward channelling Chuck Berry

MUSIC:
HAPPY NEW YEAR! First post of 2011.
Lately, I am struck by the trend of acts going "retro" in the quest to prove true musicianship and vocal artistry. WTF, was it that long ago when we expected artists to be able to carry a tune, and OMG play an instrument too. With Lucy Pearl back in 1999, I knew then Raphael Saadiq is the embodiment of 360 degree artist from vision to execution.
New video from the amazing Raphael Saadiq, whose upcoming album Stone Rollin takes him in a new direction. The single “Radio” features a similar style of retro-update to his last album, The Way I See It, but he went back further this time – past funk and soul, to rock n roll and swing dancing era.  Look out for Stone Rollin, due to be released on March 22nd.  source giantstep.net. 
As far as dance era, I was def feeling 60's Twist and Frug with "Radio" and not much Swing. The "Radio" music video is stripped down, classy and cool with echoes of Chuck Berry in Raphael Saadiq's performance. The film production worked the soundstage for maximum number of looks. Sorry the embedded video has a commercial but here you go.

Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge.

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