Single (and cooking) in the City

Food, life, love, and fun recipes


December 2010

Sick in Bed on Sunday

With any bit of desire to frolick in a blizzard stamped out by a mysterious sickness which kept me in bed most of Sunday, I hobbled over to the kitchen every 30 minutes to stir the pot of homemade chicken soup.

Check out that gorgeous clear brown color – a good sign of a delicious Chinese style chicken soup. Also ridiculously simple.

Only a few ingredients – chicken, dried mushrooms, dried goji berries, napa cabbage, and daikon. I love using dried mushrooms because their concentrated flavor really adds to the chicken soup. Daikon is not something my mom would normally toss into chicken based soup, but I had a craving for the soft texture of it, and goji berries add a bit of sweetness.

Chinese Chicken Soup

  • fresh chicken
  • ginger, 2 slices
  • scallion, 1 stalk (do scallions come in stalks?)
  • 2 handfuls of dried shitake mushrooms
  • couple handfuls of dried goji berries
  • 1 daikon, peeled and sliced 1/2″thick
  • napa cabbage

Rinse the chicken and submerge in pot full of water. When it comes to a boil, pour it out, and submerge the chicken in a fresh pot of water. Add ginger and scallion, bring to a boil. Skim fat occasionally, and add mushrooms, daikon and goji berries. Allow the soup to simmer for about an hour, then add cabbage when you are almost dying of hunger. (Cabbage doesn’t need to be cooked for all that long.)

The soup was so magical, I was cured the next day! Just in time to dress up my cat in an elf costume while bumming around at home on a snow day.


The Life of Leftovers

Approximately 31 days ago… I had hot pot at home. You probably will not remember this because 1) it was 31 days ago, 2) i didn’t post it on my blog, 3) …it was 31 days ago.

It was good, but there was a TON of sliced beef and lamb leftover (since we didn’t give it adequate time to defrost and was only able to peel the top couple of slices off). Back into the fridge it went, until I correctly defrosted it for a 2nd round of hot pot a week later. With still more beef and lamb left, we marinated it and let it sit in the fridge for a later meal…

Yakisoba – the night we lit the Christmas tree! Chock full of veggies, Kel did an excellent job making sure there was stuff I would want to eat in it, besides the chunks of meat and soba. However, even though it was our 3rd attempt at using up the leftover meat, there was still a clump of it sitting in a bowl in the fridge… until last night…

4th attempt! Mixed in with cauliflower, onions, and tomato… it had a slightly funky taste. Good or bad, I’m not sure but hey! Still alive…

My First Real Christmas Tree

As the title of the post states: FIRST REAL LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE EVER! IN THE APT! How awesome!! It smells like funky holiday goodness.

In the parking lot of Rite Aid, picking up the teeny tiny tree from two French speaking women who were hoisting, chopping, wrapping, and selling some pretty gigantic trees all on their own. They’re so awesome.

It’s a work in progress tree… still need to get lights!

Dinner later that night was a quick marinated short rib and cabbage. The marinade of sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, onion, scallions, and sugar was supposed to sit on the meat overnight, but being a terrible planner, it was tossed together 30 minutes before I started to get hungry. Under-marinatedness aside, the sugar added a nice caramelization to the meat, which was pan seared to the perfect done-ness.

Short Rib Marinade

  • 1-1/2 cups of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

Stir together, coat and soak ribs. Heat pan, add ribs and cook for 2-3 minutes each side for medium rare. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if you’re feeling fancy.

The Entire Menu at Alta

Romantic, lively and almost secretly tucked away within the inside of what looks to be any other townhouse on West 10th, Alta should be voted the best place to take a date when you want to seal the deal. Inside, the main dining area is a double high room with a fireplace, there is a 2nd level that runs along the perimeter and allows for a great view down on the other tables, AND there are hidden rooms off to the side for more private parties – ours was located just through the kitchen. This restaurant was designed to make you feel like you’ve found someplace special. And this past Saturday night, there couldn’t have been a better place to celebrate someone special.

Happy Birthday, Phe!

If I had been more clearheaded at the time, I would have taken more pictures of the food. But as it was Phe’s birthday, and I was already past my 3rd glass of cava, by the time the camera came out, I was lucky if anything or anyone recognizable was caught within the frame of the shot. And yep, Phe had ordered the entire menu.

Only the tip of the iceberg.

Quick smile before the plate is passed to you!

Tom’s face says it all: how much more food is there!?

We took a mini break from eating.

Safe at the bar.

…or so we thought.

The boys turn to cheese it up.

Good night!

Cooking with Wylie

6pm and I get a msg from Kel saying that he might not be able to make it. Slightly past 7pm, the event’s already started and I give him a call – I can go shoe shopping instead! But no, Kel insisted I go without him and that he’d plan on leaving work soon to meet me there. I’m teetering precariously on 5″ heels as I briskly walk towards the French Culinary Institute.

Up a flight of stairs and I’m in the “Institute” part of FCI. I say hi to Wylie Dufresne in the hallway where he stands next to a bunch of chefs plating little bits of food stuffs on a table against the wall. In the auditorium, I am given a plate of the first course before I even get to sit down, and a glass of Duvel. I save a seat for Kel, and start nibbling on the crab cake like concoction as I wait for Wylie’s cooking demo to start…

Peekytoe crab roll salt ‘n vinegar chips, celery mayonnaise
I loved the crunchiness of the chips, and crab.. what a great start. Good thing Kel arrived shortly after… and they’d saved a plate for him!

Cold Fried Chicken, buttermilk-ricotta, tabasco, caviar.
Apparently the fried chicken is made from chicken thighs, and the process is very much like that of making a terrine. The buttermilk-ricotta was so fluffy and tasted almost like mashed potatoes.

Here is Wylie waving around a tube of egg yolks, demonstrating how he makes the famous eggs benedict at wd-50.

Eggs benedict, fried hollandaise, Canadian bacon.
Lived up to the hype… my favorite dish from the demo.

Look at the melting core of the fried hollandaise!

Grapefruit curd, campari, hibiscus, sorrel sorbet.
A bit too much of the sour grapefruit, but the squishy and creamy curd was yummy. And the sorbet tasted like grass. In a good way.

We got to have a quick chat with the chef after the event and he was every bit as friendly and down to earth as he seemed. Fun event – the beer pairings were actually pretty good. (Yep, almost palatable for a hardcore PBR drinker such as myself.) And best of all? This intimate gathering was all courtesy of Mastercard and thanks to the incredible luck of the boy Kel. Do I see a trip to wd-50 in my future soon…?