Twice bitten

Second Mark Bittman recipe of the day!

Perfect while watching our favorite show, House Hunters International, in Thailand! Put that on the list!

Pad Thai (Mark Bittman)

Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

  • 4 ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 pound peeled shrimp, pressed tofu or a combination
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, quartered


1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.

2. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).

3. When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.


Scone phone

When the scone phone rings, answer it. (Especially on Saturday morning.)

Mark Bittman’s Classic Scones (one batch regular, one batch with chocolate chips… for the attractive nuisance)

Definitely inspired to make them after seeing the video. (His videos are fun, and there are lots of them.) The scones were incredibly easy and quick, plus we already had all the ingredients.

Note to future self, 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch.

Classic Scones (Mark Bittman)

Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 scones

  • 2 cups cake flour, more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, more for brushing

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

2. Add the egg and just enough cream to form a slightly sticky dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour, but very little; it should still stick a little to your hands.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, then press it into a 3/4-inch-thick circle and cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Put the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Gently reshape the leftover dough and cut again. Brush the top of each scone with a bit of cream and sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar.

4. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the scones are a beautiful golden brown. Serve immediately.

Not for us

I couldn’t resist making brownies for friends who just had a baby. And when I saw the recipe for LPQ’s (Le Pain Quotidien) Belgian Brownies, I really couldn’t resist. We may have tasted them to make sure they weren’t poisonous, but remember… they were not for us. But they are damn good.

Belgian Brownies (From LPQ/Le Pain Quotidien, adapted by the Wednesday Chef)
Makes 14 brownies

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 – 64% cacao)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pastry flour

1. Roughly chop the chocolate into pieces. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add the butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, until the two ingredients have melted. Mix well and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift the sugar and flour together, then stir into the chocolate. Add the eggs and mix well. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken as it stands.

3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers. Spoon one-fourth cup batter into each paper-lined cup. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. The brownies will still be moist when done; they will puff up and fall slightly as they cool.

Bring back our soup!

It’s been a few days since we’ve had soup, and, well, we just haven’t been ourselves. Here’s one that I’ve been wanting to try: Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup, from the terrific food blog, Smitten Kitchen. Oh yeah, that was good. Chorizo is awesome.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup (Smitten Kitchen)
Bon Appetit, October 2007

Makes 8 servings

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. (I poured off some of the oil in the pot at this point, but the original recipe doesn’t think this is needed.) Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.


And as a side dish, direct from the farmers market: Roasted Zucchini with Lemon.

Roasted Zucchini with Lemon (Epicurious)


  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds small zucchini (about 6), cut diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar


Put 2 large shallow baking pans (preferably heavy; 1 inch deep) in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Cut 5 (1/8-inch-thick) crosswise slices from middle of lemon and squeeze 1 teaspoon juice from remaining pieces. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add zucchini and toss until coated.

Divide zucchini between preheated baking pans, spreading evenly in 1 layer, and roast in upper and lower thirds of oven until undersides are browned, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine lemon slices and sugar in bowl and toss to coat. Gently turn zucchini slices over and arrange lemon slices in 1 layer alongside zucchini. Switch position of pans and roast until zucchini and lemon slices are tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Serve, overlapping slices slightly, on a platter (not in a bowl) to prevent weeping.

Good jews

We celebrated the Festival of Lights by cooking with olive oil. Another veg night success!


  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 4 large russet or Idaho potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Applesauce and/or sour cream, for serving


Preheat oven to 200°F. Place 2 nonstick baking sheets in oven.

Using box grater or food processor fitted with grating disc, coarsely grate onion and place in colander set in sink. Coarsely grate potatoes, add to colander, and set aside to drain.

In large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then whisk in flour.

Press potatoes and onion to extract as much liquid as possible, then add to egg/flour mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using wooden spoon or hands, mix well, but do not overwork.

In heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter until hot but not smoking. Drop 4 scant 1/4-cup portions of potato mixture into pan and flatten with spatula to form four 3-inch pancakes.

Fry until bottoms are golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden-brown and crisp, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season immediately with salt and pepper. Keep warm on baking sheets in oven while making remaining pancakes.

Using paper towels, carefully wipe out pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter and fry 4 more pancakes. Repeat with remaining batter, wiping out pan and adding 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter before each batch.

Serve pancakes hot with applesauce and/or sour cream.

  • 3 pounds apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine apples, 1 cup water and brown sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are very tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover and simmer until almost all liquid in saucepan has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cinnamon. Cool 30 minutes.

Using fork, mash apple mixture until coarse and chunky. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until cold. (Applesauce can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)


Braised Kale (John Besh, Food & Wine)

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 3 pounds kale, stems and inner ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a very large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, then add the kale in large handfuls, letting it wilt slightly before adding more. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over moderate heat until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
Make Ahead: The braised kale can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.


  • One 2 1/2-pound cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower florets with the olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Transfer to plates, garnish with the lemon wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.



Not soup!

We’ve been eating a lot of soup lately. But not tonight!

It totally tasted like Chinese food. 百胜!

Emeril’s Beef and Broccoli (Emeril Green)


  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp orange blossom honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • 2 pounds, beef flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 large heads broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Steamed brown rice, for serving


  1. Combine the oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Preheat a wok or a large skillet. Once it has reached a medium heat, add the peanut oil.
  3. Dredge the beef in the cornstarch, lightly shake off any excess cornstarch and add the beef to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli and cilantro to the pan and shake frequently. Add the sauce and stir to evenly coat the beef and broccoli. Cook until the sauce thickens and broccoli is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed brown rice.

Even more soup

Here’s a light, delicious vegetable soup. A bit of chopping but worth it. And the kale pesto worked well here.

Farmers Market Vegetable Soup (Dana Slatkin)

Serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
  • 1 turnip or potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into tiny florettes
  • 1/2 winter squash, diced
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock, cold
  • 1.5 liter bottled or tap water, cold
  • Bouquet garni (assorted herbs, peppercorns, bay leaf)
  • Kosher salt or vegetable stock cubes

Add at the last minute (optional):
1 can cannellini or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 bag frozen petite peas

Fresh or store-bought pesto
Parmesan cheese

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.

2. Add the onions, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft (about 10 minutes) but not browned, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened.

4. Pour in the cold stock and water and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat so the soup simmers gently. Add the bouquet garni and cook for about an hour, until the flavors have developed and the broth is a rich color, seasoning with salt and stock cubes towards the beginning, middle and end of the cooking process.

6. Remove the bouquet garni and add the beans and peas. Simmer a few minutes to warm through.

7. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of pesto. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

This soup will keep well in the fridge for one week or in the freezer for a few months. To store, cool down the soup before putting in a plastic container.


Topped with a dollop of our new favorite: Kale Pesto (from recipe for Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash)

Kale Pesto

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more for squash
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound) lacinato kale, center ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water. Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds. Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water.

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture. Roughly chop leaves.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt dissolved in a little lemon juice, if necessary.