Find us on Google+ cooking lounge * FOOD * LIFESTYLE * MUSIC *: 2014

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Guava Chutney, a Condiment Rich in Vitamin C

In New York City, despite the onslaught of gentrification, one stumbles upon all kinds of unexpected ingredients used in ethnic cuisines. Culinary discover should be in the Top 10 list for best things about pedestrian friendly NYC.

As spring pushed aside winter, I noticed fresh guava popping up on produce shelfs and fruit stands, especially in Brooklyn.
source wikipedia
source wikipedia
With no clue how to use the tropical fruit and widely varying answers from a couple of people in the market, goggled for some recipe ideas using vitamin C loaded guava. 

Cooking Lounge created a simple Guava Chutney. Here's a recipe guide. Have some fun and play with ingredients you have on hand.

8-10 oz of guava, peeled and sliced/diced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, white vinegar, or vinegar of choice
3 tablespoons of turbinado sugar
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped 
cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, kosher salt - grind in food processor until a coarse spice mix; adjust spice proportions to your preference. 

On low heat, warm vinegar with onions. Add sugar and increase heat a little. When slightly thickened, add spices. Season to taste. Stir in guava and parsley. Cover for a couple of minutes to heat throughout. Stir again to evenly disperse flavors and ingredients. Add a little water if needed. Done. Let chutney cool to room temperature. This is a quick pickling method.

Serving Suggestion
photo: kbeall
The Guava Chutney keeps well, refrigerated in a mason jar. It is an excellent condiment with eggs to meat or a savory-sweet spread on crackers with cheese. 

We tried the Guava Chutney on Roasted Sweet Peppers Stuffed with Feta Cheese topped with bread crumbs...ahhh sooo amazing together.

Cooking Lounge

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Peeling Onions

Worth the Tears
Peeling Onions
an essential element to lots of great cooking
Check out LIVESTRONG for more about onions.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Potatoes Dauphinoise Topped with Crispy Onions

The trick with the French classic Potatoes Dauphinoise is layers of thin, evenly sliced potatoes. A traditional cheese sauce with bechamel can be a bit of work, but you can improvise and get creative to find shortcuts for a cheese sauce to suit your taste, time and kitchen skills. Topped with onions crisped a tad, adds another layer of flavor and texture to this classic dish that is good to eat any time of the day. Try a warm slice for breakfast with eggs and bacon - wow, so comforting and filling. If you are watching calories and fat content, have on a cheat day and relish every luscious bite. 

Here is a guide to making this favorite dish that is always a winner. Remember get creative, experiment; there are so many variations on this classic dish. Create your own signature version.

Heat oven to 350 while prepping dish. 

Start with 2lbs of Russet or Idaho potatoes that have been washed and scrubbed with a vegetable brush. You can peel them or leave the skin on.

Use a mandolin(e) slicer, food processor or a really sharp knife to make thin even slices. You can blanche the potatoes or use them raw. Classic preparation uses raw potatoes.The cooking time is twice as long with raw potatoes but creates deeper, more complex flavor.

Cheese (Semi-Hard or Hard Cheese like aged white cheddar, asiago, creative)
Salt and Pepper
Finely chopped garlic (optional)
Chopped fresh herbs (optional)

A bechamel base for the cheese sauce adds sublime richness. It takes approximately 20 minutes to make this rich, classic french sauce. Remember to slowly stir in the grated cheese for smoothness. Season with a dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, and a little garlic if desired. There are easier, quicker ways to make a cheese sauce. It is as simple as slowly adding and stirring grated cheese to gently warmed milk to prevent scalding.

In a buttered or oiled baking pan, line the bottom and sides with sliced potatoes. Alternate between layers of cheese sauce and potatoes. You can add a middle layer of lightly sauteed onions and chopped fresh herbs. Continue layers until filled. Top with a layer of cheese sauce and then a layer of raw onions. A dusting of bread crumbs or wheat bran adds another texture profile.

If using raw potatoes, cook until top is brown and crisp. You may need to turn up the heat the last 5-10 minutes, approximate cooking time 1hour 45 minutes. If using blanched potatoes, cook uncovered until brown and crisp. You may want to turn up the heat for final few minutes; approximate cooking time 45-50 minutes. 

Potatoes Dauphinoise is a perfect side with roasted meat or served as a light meal with a salad. Potatoes Dauphinoise make a fantastic indulgent breakfast/brunch side dish too.

Cooking Lounge

photo: wbj

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sexy Brazilian Beats for Carnival, World Cup 2014 and Romance

The massive, world renowned Carnival parade in Rio de Janiero is steeped in passion, from exuberant samba to sexy costumes. The constant thread of news about World Cup 2014 shined even more light on this year's spectacle. 

More amazing pictures - International Business Times. 
Carnival 1 
Carnival 2

The 10 Super Sexy Brazilian Songs below are from one of the most popular Cooking Lounge post. 

DJ Greg Caz, who gained international fame as co-founder and DJ for Brazilian Beats, selected the music. Greg Caz is more a musicologist than a DJ, with his far reaching encyclopedic knowledge of world, rare groove and popular music. Check-out the beats and Greg's funny and informative writing.

...Brazilian music oozes sensuality and romance.
Cooking Lounge invited DJ Greg Caz to select 10 Super Sexy Brazilian Songs to celebrate  Carnival and Valentine's Day...Jazzed to have him contribute to Cooking Lounge
GREG CAZ, you must realize of course that "super sexy Brazilian songs" is a bit redundant, most people need only hear any music with someone singing in Portuguese and they're immediately thinking "sex," so I literally could put ANYTHING on this list and it would be all good. Right or wrong? But here goes anyway...

1. Marcos has been exploring different aspects of music and the sexiness thereof since the 60s, and this quiet-storm slow-burner from the early 80s is ideal for feeding each other grapes.
Marcos Valle "Fogo Do Sol"
2. Brazilians are sexy even when singing about Jesus, as on this late-90s gem from an all-Afro-Brazilian female gospel vocal group. Grupo Ebano "Pe No Chao"
3. Pianist, composer, vocalist and Bossa Nova precursor Johnny Alf charms the pants off us with this 1971 beauty (with Os Tres Morais on backing vocals) about a lovely young lady named Anabela who keeps him awake at night thinking about her. Johnny Alf "Anabela"
4. Doris is well-known for her understated, intimate and veeeerrry sexy singing style, as heard on this Caetano Veloso cover. Doris Monteiro "De Noite Na Cama"
5. Donato is a giant and a myth and a legend, a pianist/composer who has made his mark in bossa nova, jazz, Latin music and all things funky. This is a collaboration with Gilberto Gil who also sings on this track. Joao Donato "Tudo Tem"
6. The Marcos Valle and João Donato influences are clear on this very sexy number from the always-amazing Ed Motta. Ed Motta "Coisas Naturais"
7. It would be a crime to leave out one of Brazilian music's most notoriously sexy singers. Her early records were a favorite around my house in my childhood, when I didn't know what "sex" was, but Fafa's voice and album covers definitely began to clue me in! Beautiful Milton Nascimento composition. "Seduction," indeed. Fafa de Belem "Seducao"
8. If this classic song from Brazil's all-time iconic female singer doesn't put you in mind of a romantic dinner, romance and lovemaking, NOTHING will. Elis Regina "Dois Pra La, Dois Pra Ca" 
9. Cravo & Canela only made one album in 1977 (not 1976 like it says on the video) but what a classic it is. "Iboru Iboyá" oozes sexiness and classiness from the first note to the last. Cravo & Canela "Iboru Iboya"
10. "Come Sleep At My Place, so I can give you my dreams and my love." I love playing this at the end of a night DJing, when "deals" are being "closed" Tim  Maia "Venha Dormir en Casa" (Come Sleep At My Place)
Cooking Lounge created a YouTube Playlist of the 10 Super Sexy Brazilian Songs, with over 30 minutes of music for you. 10 Super Sexy Brazilian Songs - Valentine's Day + Carnival (original post)
Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Juice it up! :: Juicing Fruits and Vegetables

Resolutions have been made to do better with the New Year. Exercise. Eat healthier. Have adventures. Save more. The possible lists go on and on and on.
cucumber, celery, carrot, orange, ginger
Juicing is big on a lot of personal lists. Juicing and Juice Cleanses are the new buzzed about favorites for improving health and losing weight.

Juicing has been around for ages. Think Jack LaLanne, "The Godfather of Fitness", who extolled the versions of juicing for decades. Jack might have been on to something; he lived a long and vibrant life.

Guessing (not a nutritionist or health expert) that spending a weekend or so doing a cleanse is probably helpful and healthful - intaking low calorie, nutrient rich liquids to clean out the digestive system and maybe lose some pounds.

The waning days of winter, mean warm weather and less clothes soon...finally, so time to tone up and shed that winter layer. Snow is on the ground but spring is in the air. Can hear birds chirping.

Juicing can be an integral part of everyday eating. A nutritious juice can replace a meal or be an energy boosting healthy snack. 

Breville Juice Fountain Plus
After a bit of research, purchased the Breville Juice Fountain Plus because of great reviews and its easy clean up. Tips: Save plastic shopping bags and line expeller bin for even quicker clean up. Scrub fruits and vegetables or wash well so you can use skin when appropriate.
Ginger makes it awesome

A favorite combo is cucumber, celery, carrot, orange and ginger. In general, cucumber and celery make a really good base that blends well with almost any mix of fruits and veggies. Also, like to add ginger often to a range of juice mixtures.

Gotta get those leafy greens into the mix too.

Sweet Greens
Tips: Roll up a few leaves and scrunch into a ball. A little squeeze of lemon brightens the juice.

Kale or Collards  

Cooking Lounge