About Me

My photo
This blog is for the purpose of all things related to the kitchen. This includes recipes, cool gadgets, and little anecdotes. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

London Broil Falling Down

Follow my blog with bloglovin

The idea of cooking meat always scares me. I have always stayed away of any form of red meat that is not ground or minced. You never want to be the one who serves the rubbery chewy piece of meat to your guests. Recently, I have taken the bull by the horns (no pun intended) and decided I was going to learn to cook meat.

The whole process just placed stumbling block after hurdle trying to trip me up. Firstly, I had to go to the butcher and pick out the correct cut of meat. They have this whole diagram with numbers correlating to different parts of the cow, similar to this picture (only much more complicated in real life): 

File:Beef cuts.svg

After staring at this diagram for eternity, it still did not help me chose the right cut of meat. Do I want rib, brisket, top sirloin, bottom sirloin? With my head's looming implosion, I quickly called my mother. Five minutes later and I find myself walking out of the butcher with a nice big shoulder london broil. 

Now what to do next? If picking out the meat wasn't tough enough, the idea of turning it into a perfect dish seemed even more impossible. Once again my mother came to the rescue with suggestions and specific instructions of how not to mess this up. 

After doing extensive research, the next logical step pointed to marinading the meat overnight to make it as soft and juicy as possible. As per my mother's instructions I threw together some oil, soy sauce, honey, rosemary, and garlic and let the meat marinade in a bag over night. The transformation of it the next morning was a sure sign I was headed in the right direction. It was darker, having soaked up all the juices, and definitely looked ready to cook. 

I placed it in a pan and put it into the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 7 minutes on each side to brown. Next, in order to preserve the savory juices, I added a little water to the bottom of the pan and covered the meat with tin foil. I reset the oven to 150 Celsius and let the meat cook for 45 minutes until the juices ran clear. The key was to make sure that it was still a little pink on the inside so that it wouldn't dry out. Once cooled, slice it (against the grain). Overall, I'd say my first attempt was a good one, especially since none was left. 

London Broil

3-4 lb london broil 
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons rosemary
6 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients and let marinade in a bag overnight
2. Cook at 220 Celsius uncovered for 15 minutes browning each side
3. Cover and cook for 45 minutes until juices run clear at 150 Celsius
4. Cool and slice
5. Reheat to serve


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Do You Like Your Cabbage?


I love salads. My ideal meal is one or two main dishes and a lot of different interesting salads on the side. One thing I have learned in Israel is that they don't understand the idea behind a big leafy salad. Whenever I make my own salad in university and ask for lettuce I always end up with a couple of sad looking pieces and them standing there waiting to hear how I want to fill the rest of my salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Needless to say, I get funny looks when I ask for more lettuce.

Living on my own has also proven a challenge to my salad making. Whenever I opt for the healthy choice and decide to make myself a salad, all I ever seem to find in my fridge is old wilted lettuce and mushy tomatoes. For some reason in my mind the next logical move is to pick up my phone and dial the pizza store (ignoring the fact I have a produce store around the corner which is open at all hours of the day!)Before you know it, a pizza is delivered to my house, so obviously I'm have to eat it. I just still can't figure out how that happens....so much for being healthy.

All that being said, that is one of the biggest reasons I like this cabbage salad. I can buy a couple bags of already chopped cabbage and they last me much longer than lettuce. The ingredients are so simple and I can put together this salad before my hands have a chance to reach for the phone. Being a student, I have adapted this recipe to fit the contents of my kitchen, so the measurements aren't so exact. Even if it tastes a little different every time I make it, it is always delicious.

Cabbage and Ramen Noodles Salad

1 package of chopped cabbage
1 package of instant ramen noodles
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar

1. put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle the raw noodles on top. 
2. combine the dressing (possibly adding more sugar or soy sauce depending on your preference)
3. mix all together


Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Top of Spaghetti all Covered in Sauce I Lost My Poor Meatball When Somebody Caughed

Meatballs has always been a specialty of my mothers. She somehow is able to take dry, plain ground turkey and make is deliciously sweet and savory. In my family we try to cook with turkey or chicken instead of red meat for health reasons. So when I took on the challenge of meatballs a while back I was nervous they wouldn't measure up to my mothers. The problem I have with this meal is that it is a lot of guess work. I can never seem to get a straight answer when asking for exact cups and tablespoons. Therefore, I have never reached that ultimate "these taste just like my mom's!"

However, there was one time earlier this year that I tasted that sweet victory. I decided after an extremely long and tiring day that I was going to make meatballs and spaghetti for dinner. My roommates have spoken about "THE MEATBALLS" every since. Anytime I mention ground turkey it always evokes the memory of those fresh, perfectly round, tomatoey yet sweet, meatballs. It has almost become something of a myth now, never being able to reach perfection like that since. I still ponder whether it really was something in the recipe that day, or just our extreme hunger. But even if it was only for that one meal, I lived up to my mother's famous meatballs.

Sweet n' Sour Meatballs 
1/2 kilo ground turkey
1/2 kilo ground chicken
2 cans  crushed tomatoes
1 jar of apricot jam
brown sugar

1. Mix together the turkey and chicken. Add one egg, ketchup, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper to season the meat.
2. Combine tomato sauce and apricot jam in a pot and bring to a boil. You can dilute it with water if it needs thinning. Add brown sugar to sweeten the sauce to your liking.
3. Roll the meat into small balls and drop into the boiling sauce.
4. Leave them on a low flame for about 45 minutes, or until cooked.

These are great to serve with spaghetti or rice.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tali Knows Best

For all those who don’t know me, I come from a family of four girls. One of life's
biggest challenges (and blessings) has been that my older sister and I are separated by
only 15 months! To tell you that it was like growing up with a best friend always around, running and skipping through the dandelion covered fields, sharing one ice cream cone with two scoops and finger painting each other’s rooms would be…false. We used to fight about everything: clothes, the television, Barbies, who gets the car…basically anything! Despite our continuation of this petty game for years, we grew up (and out of the house) and came to appreciate what makes the other one so unique. What has always made my sister Tali special, has not been her cooking abilities. This is particularly awesome since I love receiving those phone calls or bbm's where she needs my help with a recipe. What younger sister doesn't love being right?!
More recently though, since Tali has become quite an adequate chef in the kitchen, I felt it was time for her to share one of her favorite recipes. But even though she is improving daily, I still must remind her of her humble beginnings, like the time she forgot to put the top on the blender and batter went flying ten feet in the air! But for the time being, here's to Tali and her struggle to domestication!

For those of you who know me as Shira's cool, fun, mature sister, you also know how domestically challenged I am. Following a protocol in the neuropathology lab I work in or throwing a bunch of clothing items together to create a fashionable outfit is not too difficult for me. But upon entering the kitchen (gasp!), the burns on my arms, half food dishes spilled on the floor, and smoke alarm ringing throughout my apartment (yes, was a highlight of my week when 3 firemen visited my apartment at 12 am on a Thursday night to check the carbon monoxide detector while I was cooking for Shabbat) reflect my performance ability to cook. 

As I have entered adulthood and gained intellectual independence, I have come to several realizations:
1. If I do not cook for myself, I will be hungry
2. If I do not cook for myself and do not want to be hungry, I will eat out at restaurants for every meal
3. If I order food from NYC eating establishments for lunch and dinner in addition to my daily cup of coffee, I may become poor
4. If I become poor, I cannot shop at Anthropologie and Lord and Taylor anymore (and if you ask any of the Bauman girls, clothes trump food)

Like in other aspects of life, hard work, determination, and practice prove to refine and hone techniques and skills. Therefore, I have started teaching myself how to cook. It has a been a wonderful learning experience as I journey through the world of recipes, late night chats with my oven, and spiritual kitchen clean ups. One highlight was cooking dinner for 14 people and hearing them rave about my lemon curry chicken cutlets, hickory smoked chicken cutlets with sauteed onions, and beef-barley-leek soup. That same weekend, I created a new salad recipe based on a salad I ate at Cafe Rimon in Mamilla (for all you Israelis reading this- you can pay 59 shek for it) or you can just follow this awesome recipe. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad

Black or red quinoa (2-4 cups depending on how big you want the salad to be)




Balsamic dressing 

Dressing: (courtesy of Eliana Bauman)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar (I like it sweeter, so I use 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce

This post is dedicated to Ilan Tokayer; cooking was only one of his many passions in life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Sandwich I Approve Of

Anyone who knows me, knows that growing up I absolutely hated sandwiches. I was never the child who brought their peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crust cut off to school everyday, for 12 years. Instead I was stuck with my noodles and ketchup or bag of pretzels. Then I was introduced to this kind of sandwich...one with fresh bread, meat, and onions. This is no ordinary deli sandwich, this is much better. So in honor of my growing up and maturing...here is a sandwich I eat!

1/2 lb of salami
2 onions
BBQ sauce
condiments for a sandwich

1. Cut up salami into chunks(you can also use hot dogs if you don't have salami).
2. Slice the onions into rings
3. Let the salami and onions marinate in BBQ sauce for 20 min.
4. With a little (very little) oil, saute the onions and meat together in a pan, you can add more BBQ sauce for flavor.
5. Saute until golden brown (about 15 minutes)
6. Add to a lightly toasted roll 
7. Add any vegetables or sauces you like.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guest Blog Post by the Master Chef....Brian Koenigson

Hey guys, my name is Brian Koenigson and I’ll be your narrator this evening. I am currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts and Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management program at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey. Today I’d like to talk about my Thursdays. In school, on this truly glorious day of the week (one day after hump day!), I have a six and a half hour class called Quantities Food Service. It is in this class that I am taught how to cook fifty portions of a five-course meal that the cafeteria sells to the general public as an upscale alternative to the lunches they normally serve.
Every time we serve a meal, the professor (a former executive chef of the premier establishment, Tao in Las Vegas) chooses two people to be the production manager (who are in charge of making things run smoothly and efficiently as well as making sure all the different components of the meal are completed in time for service) and a sanitation manager (who are in charge of cleanliness in the kitchen and making sure all safety and health regulations are followed to a tee). Today, finally, it was my turn to be production manager. I’ll give you a rundown of the menu.
Fresh, out-of-the-oven Focaccia bread with a Tomato, Basil and Vinaigrette salad on top
A Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup
Baked Italian Salad of Tomatoes, Zucchini and Mozzarella
Homemade Lasagna with Ground Beef, Fresh Marinara Sauce, Ricotta Cheese and       Mozzarella
Olive Oil and Coconut Brownies
 After all the recipes have been handed out and the various ingredients checked in, it’s time to start. My teams’ objective was to finish making the fresh marinara sauce by the time the lasagna noodles are cooked perfectly al dente. All the members of the class are at different points in their professional cooking careers and sometimes it is difficult to work with members who aren’t as experienced as you. I didn’t know making a simple marinara sauce could be so difficult to make with three people. I guess the saying is true, ‘Too many chefs spoil the soup.’ There is no doubt in my mind that if one person had been making the sauce it would have been done sooner and more efficiently. Not to say that it was not done on time or tasted poorly, in fact it was quite the opposite but sometimes if you want something to be done right you just need to do it yourself.
The only major nuisances we had all day came from the baking team. One mistake (of many) was measuring the amount of flour needed for the recipe completely wrong and after wasting time mixing it with water and yeast they realized what they had done. All the bread that was made for that day’s meal was finished within minutes of service time and the students working the station were driving the professor crazy. However, everything else in the kitchen seemed to run rather smoothly. Everything was finished in time and all the components to each dish came together right before the cafeteria opened. After all the food was labeled and sent up to be sold, the class cleaned the kitchen and all the dishes we had used that day. Our professor went up stairs to be the spokes-person for our meal in the cafeteria, getting the word out that certain meals had been made by the schools very own culinary program students.
            Our meals at the cafeteria had sold out and the day deemed a success. I was happy with the products we were able to put out and we received only compliments. Now I have to wait until next week when I’ll be a lowly cook and some other student will be running the show.
Thanks for your time and keep it real.

Brian's Famous Carrot Basil Soup
1 onion
3 carrots
1 potato
1 chili pepper
5 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
chopped basil
1 bay leaf
pinch of nutmeg
juice of lemon
50 ml cream or non-dairy creamer
salt and pepper

1. Cut all the vegetables medium diced.
2. Saute the onions until golden, then add the carrots and sweat them off for a few minutes.
3. Add the potato, salt, pepper, and chili pepper (like you would find in a pizza store). 
4. Stir in chicken stock, water, basil, and bay leaf.
5. Bring it all to a simmer, and let it cook until the vegetables are tender. 
6. Add the cream or non-dairy creamer and the nutmeg.
7. Using an immersion blender, blend thoroughly until smooth. 
8. When ready to serve, put into bowls and squeeze some lemon juice over the top of each serving and garnish with a few roasted pine nuts. 

photo 4.jpg

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Edamame Salad

Edamame is a soybean in a pod, sounds strange I know, but I myself have become quite the fan of this pod. I was really only introduced to this vegetable this year, and have really learned to love it. I buy them frozen and if you cook them in the microwave and just sprinkle some salt and lemon juice on them they are a great side dish to any meal.

Another way to try them is by shelling them (or if you are lucky enough to find already shelled ones) and adding them to a salad. This is a very easy and colorful salad which is a great addition to any meal.

Edamame Salad

1 bag of edamame beans
1 can of corn
2 peppers
1 red onion

Chop the peppers and onion very thin. Combine with the beans and corn. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper to taste.