Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gratuitous Food Photos: Asian Style

If you follow me on twitter @grahamandcook you have probably seen these photos, if not you should follow me to keep connected. But regardless enjoy this Asian food edition of the regular feature Gratuitous Food Photos!

Ramen time at Totto Ramen

Totto Ramen, Theater District, NYC


Fried Rice From Mission Chinese Food at the Lucky Peach McNally Jackson Event, Soho, NYC


Noodle Bar NYC, West Village, NYC

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Matcha Macarons with Almond Cream Filling

Matcha Macaron

I have been obsessed with making Macarons lately (as obvious by my Espresso Macarons and my first attempt) and I have been wanting to work on different flavors which is the fun part of Macarons. So since I got off  work a little early this past Friday for Good Friday I thought it would be perfect to make some Macarons for Easter. I have had some Culinary grade Matcha kicking around my apartment for a little while now and I thought this would be the perfect application for it. Some how the more Macarons I make the crazier they are starting to look… I need a lot of practice which my pastry bag skills and maybe grinding the almond flour a bit smoother could have helped these look less crazy, but as with anything practice makes perfect and as long as they still taste good all is well!



For the Macarons I used the technique and recipe from Brave Tart, same as my last 2 attempts.

4oz Sifted Almond Flour

8oz Powdered Sugar

1 Tbsp Sifted Culinary Grade Matcha Powered

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

5oz Egg Whites

2 1/2 oz Sugar

For the filling wanted to do a Almond Cream filling for the Matcha cookies because I thought it would be a good compliment to the Matcha and since Macarons are made with almond flour it made sense that the flavors would go together. When I was researching types of almond cream on the internet I decided to do a traditional French Frangipane (Almond Custard Filling) and decided to use the recipe from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck.


Adapted from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’

This makes way more than you will need for 1 batch of Macarons, use extra for a filling for a Gâteau de Crêpes (a crepe cake like I did with the left overs check out the recipe here)  or a tart

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

6oz Granulated Sugar (approx 3/4 Cup)

2oz All Purpose Flour (approx 1/2 Cup)

1 Cup Almond Milk (Boiling Hot)

3Tbsp Butter

2 Tsp Vanilla

2oz Ground Almonds, more chunky than that ground for almond flour (approx 1/2 Cup)

Mixing Bowl


1 Medium Sauce Pan

Wooden Spoon


Beat the egg and the yolk with the whisk in the mixing bowl, slowly adding the sugar while mixing and continue mixing until the mix is pale yellow and the sugar is fully incorporated.

Mix the flour into the egg and sugar mix until fully incorporated then slowly pour in the boiling almond milk while whisking.

Pour the mix into your sauce pan and set over medium heat. Stir slowly until the mix begins to thicken and then beat it quickly until it smooths outs and becomes a thick paste.

Once thickened mix with a wooden spoon over low heat for 2-3 minutes allowing the flour to cook through, being careful to make sure that the mix does not burn.

Take the pan off the heat and mix in the butter and vanilla extract until incorporated, then mix in the ground almonds until everything is fully incorporated.

Use as desired, if saving for later cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze.

If using for Macarons pipe or spread the filling into the cookies and sandwich them together.

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English Muffin Time

English Muffin_001

I have always loved english muffins, they are a staple of my breakfast routine but I never thought about making them until I started seeing a bunch of different recipes and posts on tastespotting and foodgawker. I figured if I make my own bread why don’t I make my favorite breakfast counterpart. After much perusal of recipes I finally decided upon making them using this recipe from Little B Cooks as my guide, I only slightly modified the recipe by switching out some of the all purpose flour for rye flour since I had it around the house. As I usually buy whole wheat muffins I figured this was a good way to add a nuttiness with the flour that I had on hand since at the time I did not have any whole wheat flour on hand. On my first attempt the muffins ended up being quite large, so when I decided to make them again this week I was careful to make them smaller. On my attempt to make them this week ,due to rushing in making them and not following my instincts, they came out a bit doughy. The batter was too wet but since it was late at night my normal instinct to add more flour decided not to show up for the party and I proceeded as they were. So when I made them and cooked them they were still doughy… It was quite a fail but it was just another lesson in not rushing when cooking and don’t try to make bread at night….

English Muffins

Regardless of my fail on my second batch of muffins I still made a great breakfast sandwich, which is one of my favorite preparations of an english muffin. With my first muffins I made a fabulous smoked salmon and fried egg sandwich, which I must say there is nothing better than a breakfast sandwich on home made bread. With this most recent doughy batch, I extra toasted the muffin and made just a simple fried egg and spinach sandwich which was still good even if a bit chewy. Of course a great simpler preparation is to toast the muffin and serve with butter and preserves or a nice Grapefruit or Lemon curd (my favorite thing to make with left over egg yolks from Macaron making).

English Muffins

All in all I think English Muffin making is going to slowly become a bigger part of my weekend cooking routine so that I have the time to make them properly and then I can have them for breakfast all week.

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Espresso and Mexican Hot Chocolate Macarons

Espresso Macrons_2

This past weekend I decided to attempt The Great Macaron again not realizing that today was Macaron day so the coincidence that I made them this weekend and did not post anything about them yet has seemed to work out quite well. 

Espresso Macrons_1

As I mentioned on my first Macaron post (The Great Macaron: The First Attempt) I did everything by hand because I did not have any sort of electric mixer at that point and I had no intention of getting one either. Then randomly my mom, who did not really know I was thinking about getting a kitchen aid, emailed me a great deal that she saw for one so I had to take the plunge and get it. Once it arrived the first thing I had to make was a second round of Macarons, especially since my sister was gone when I made the first attempt and she wanted to try one. This time I went for some flavor experimenting and made espresso cookies with a Mexican chocolate ganache filling. I think they turned out pretty well and I am pumped to make my next batch!
If you live in NYC and want to celebrate Macaron day check out this article by Grub Street for places offering free macarons! If you don’t live in the NYC area check out a place in your area that makes them or make your own. They are only as scary as you make them out to be!
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Graphic Design for the Kitchen

Seinfood Posters by Rinee Shah

Seinfood Posters by Rinee Shah $30

While browsing the web I always seem to happen upon awesome posters and prints of all different sorts and lately I have come across quite a few good ones related to food which I thought I would share with you. My favorites are the Sienfood Series by Rinee Shah (see above) that take memorable food moments from the show Sienfeld and turn them in to fantastic graphics for your walls.

Kitchen Conversions Art Poster, Dark Gray 13x19 by SweetFineDay

Kitchen Conversions Art Poster, Dark Gray 13×19 by SweetFineDay $25

For more useful posters there are some great kitchen conversion posters out there with my favorite being the poster above (click on the photo to link to Esty to buy). While I typically weigh my ingredients it is still a fun and handy poster for your kitchen wall.

Breweries of Europe by Pop Chart Lab $32

Breweries of Europe by Pop Chart Lab $32

There is also a lot of great info graph type posters out there about all sorts of things with Pop Chart Lab having a great selection of these for Beer, Vegetables, Kitchenware and more. So next time you are thinking your walls are looking bare why not look into sprucing them up with a great food/ cooking related art print!

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Bookshelf of Cookbooks: Jerusalem A Cookbook

Jerusalem Book_words

This post is the first in what will be an ongoing series called Bookshelf of Cookbooks. My goal for these posts is to actually cook recipes, as written, from the books that I own and continue to buy and not just use them as inspiration or a jumping place (all though there is nothing wrong with that either). Just as in art or photography or whatever else following what someone else did to make your own study helps you learn about the process and techniques involved to make that specific painting or in this case dish of food. While creating our own recipes are fun and exciting there is no point if one does not have a base of knowledge learned from other books and if you do want to write your own recipes it helps to cook from others because you then learn which recipe style works best for you. So please join me on this first adventure into my books featuring 2 recipes from from Jerusalem A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Jerusalem Book_18

First let me say that this book is beautiful, when I first opened it I was struck by all the lovely photos of Jerusalem and all the great pictures of the food. While I have a lot of books I have had longer I think this one got me to cook from it so quickly after purchasing was for 2 reasons. One of those reasons was I had some friends who were recently in Jerusalem and all their photos I kept seeing made me want to go there and eat some amazing food, which leads me to point #2 which is I love middle eastern food. Going to Istanbul last summer was great, I got to eat a lot of fantastic food and I just made me want to try even more things from the region. When I was looking through the book there was a number of things that I wanted to make right away but I settled on the Latkes and couscous thing because the ingredients were easy to get and the recipes were not too involved.

Unlike all my usual cooking forays I did not change anything about these recipes other than eyeballing most of the measurements to my taste/ the recipe. In doing this I realized a big reason why I never really cook the full recipe from my cookbooks is because I hate having to keep looking at the book to follow it correctly. I usually take the idea, what ingredients I actually have, and my intuition and make the recipe in whatever respect I remember/ want to do.

Jerusalem Book_17

The first thing I made was the Couscous with tomato and onion (pg 129). This recipe was easy to make and delicious to eat, the only change I made was to use canned plum tomatoes instead of very ripe fresh tomatoes since it is off season and there was no good ones at my grocery store. While I am not going to post the recipe, since I did not really change anything you can just reference the book, for your reference the ingredient list is as follows:

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion chopped (1 cup)
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 Tsp Sugar
2 Very Ripe Tomatoes ( I used canned)
1 Scant Cup Couscous
220ML Boiling Stock ( I used homemade Vegetable)
21/2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Jerusalem Book_16

The second thing I made were the Latkes (pg92) which of course were pretty basic and came out great. For this recipe I really did not measure the potato, parsnip and chive, I eyeballed it based on what I know it should look like and how much I wanted to make. To make the Latkes you need:

5 1/2 Cups Grated Wax Potato
2 3/4 Cups Grated Parsnips
2/3 Cup Chopped Chives
4 Egg Whites
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
6 1/2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil (I used Peanut because it was what I had)
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Sour Cream for serving

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An Ode to Travelling by Air

You disembark from the ground transportation that brought you here, you stand waiting while the large sliding glass doors open and you are suddenly met with the sounds from within. You hear the click clack, click clack of plastic wheels rolling across slick tile, the dull echo of hundreds of voices reverberating off the floors and the walls, that feeling of excitement, anticipation, and joy that you are so close to somewhere else, somewhere new, somewhere exciting all rush in to consciousness all at once. You have arrived at the airport with passport in hand and suitcase in tow, where anything is possible and the whole world awaits you.


That initial rush of excitement quickly fades to the rigours of the procedure, of the process, Where do I check in? Where is Security? Is the line long? Did I leave myself enough time? but still harbored in the back of your mind is the happiness of being there and leaving your life behind to travel somewhere far away. The routines continue and boarding begins, you get your ticket scanned and walk the tarmac to the plane, you look for your seat to find someone sitting in the wrong one, you ask them to move and take your place and await for take off.


Cortlandt Alley

The flight might be long and being 6 feet tall you are perpetually uncomfortable on planes but the discomforts are bearable for the rewards of the destinations. Being somewhere new and connecting with long lost friends is worth all the pain and annoyance in the world. Hours upon hours later you land hopefully at your destination and not a layover somewhere.
Oh but this time you have a layover and oh no you once again booked flights with tight timing you race for the gate of your next flight hoping that you do not miss the connection. You make it with time to spare because oh guess what your flight has been delayed… of course. Eventually you board and into the air you go once again killing the time until you finally arrive at your final destination.


Once you land and disembark you go about the process the same regardless of where you have ended up. First stop customs, to go wait forever in line just to have your passport stamped, then off to baggage claim where even after having to wait forever for customs your bag still has not come through. Finally it comes and then you are off to find your way to wherever you are going. Maybe you are lucky and someone picks you up in a car, maybe you have to navigate public transit, or maybe just maybe you take a cab if you are feeling extravagent. If you are somewhere new this can be a nerve racking and stressful part of the journey but eventually after much confusion and drama you figure it out and off you go into the grand unknown finally feeling at peace that you have made it and eager for the adventures that await.

*Please note all the photos in this post are my personal photos, please do not use without consent*

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Weekend Brunch Recap: Spring has Sprung



Restaurant Name: Miller’s Tavern

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Meal: Brunch

Ordered: Biscuits and Gravy w/ Scrambled Eggs

Sunday in the city


Restaurant Name: Cafe Mogador

Location: East Village, NYC, NY

Meal: Brunch

Ordered: Haloumi Eggs w/ Home Fries

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The Great Macaron: The First Attempt

I recently bought the Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel and while browsing the beautiful pages of the book I came across the Macaron recipe and was re-inspired to finally attempt them. I have been meaning to make them forever because of the normal reasons that they are so cute and you can make them in a million different flavor and flavor combinations. I was always hesitant because of everything I read about them being so temperamental, but have always wanted to make them so this weekend I decided to just go for it I mean what could really go wrong? Its just food. So before I set out to buy supplies I did some extra research on the web for tips and tricks to make sure I got the best results possible and I found this wonderful post on Macrons by The Brave Tart.  Once I found this recipe and technique I decided to go with it since it was a lot less fussy than the Bouchon version and since I am not a fussy person at all this really appealed a lot to me.

While in this recipe you do not have to age the egg whites I did leave mine out for a bit while I was making french buttercream for the filling. I thought since I am doing this by hand leaving the eggs out a bit might make my whisking job easier. I do not have a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer so I had to do everything totally by hand which was an effort but not as bad as I would have thought it would be. When piping the cookies out they became a little off shaped because my pastry bag skills need to be improved upon but otherwise they did not come out too bad. The first tray were hollow because I accidentally overcooked them. The cookies were not releasing from the parchment because I accidentally used the less slick side of the parchment which I now know not to do in the future. The second tray of cookies were better in terms of hollowness but the shells cracked, I don’t think I rapped the pan enough and that pan in particular is cheap and has its own issues to begin with.

For this first attempt I did not add any flavoring or coloring to the mix to really focus on the technique. I filled them with a buttercream mixed with a blueberry/ pomegranate preserve for simplicity sake. I can’t wait to make the next round more exciting and even better than the first attempt!

Check out these wonderful posts for some more hints and tricks for Macarons and remember that Macarons are only as scary as you make them out to be and even ‘failure’ is tasty!

Hollow Pursuits by the Brave Tart

How to make macarons: what’s working for me right now by eat. live. travel. write.

Why do my macarons have hollow shells? A work in progress. by eat. live. travel. write.

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Mushroom, Arugula, & Ricotta Ravioli

ravioli_13_words This past weekend I was feeling a bit adventurous if you will and decided that it would be a great idea to attempt ravioli (for the second time, we just wont talk about the first time) and the testy of all thing Macrons (which is another post… coming soon!). I love making pasta and don’t make it enough, the biggest reason has been that I did not have a pasta machine. While I can roll it out relatively thin it is not super consistent so this weekend I rectified my lack of pasta machine by purchasing one. Now I seem to be on a kick of buying kitchen appliances that are not necessary while doing with out the most useful and handy appliances. For instance I just bought an Ice cream machine and I have a juicer but I do not have a blender, food processor, or any sort of automated mixing device (hand held or kitchen aid). I reason that I do not buy these ‘basics’ if you will because I want to buy a nice model , which I need to save for and living in the NYC area (Brooklyn to be exact) my kitchen space is limited. I make do with out such basics since they are in essence just making tasks you can do by hand easier but the more specialized things I can’t fake in the same way, so while that may not make a lot of sense it is my justification for such purchases.

Anyway moving on, this weekend I really wanted to make pasta and ravioli to be specific. Ravioli are one of my favorite things so I figured I might as well make my own since I have not had them in a while. I decided to make a mushroom, arugula, ricotta filling since I already had everything but the ricotta. For the actual pasta as per my usual route I went for the basic ratio for pasta dough in Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. I can not recommend this book enough, it is a great reference and makes it easy to really learn what you are doing and adapt the basic ratios for your needs. The filling was my own creation. As for making the ravioli themselves I have included a some basic instructions but if you need more guidance there is a lot of great resources out there on the web, the Good Eats: Use your Noodle II episode is an especially great basic resource.

Mushroom, Arugula, & Ricotta Ravioli

Serves 2 as a main dish

You will need

1 recipe of Pasta Dough (See below)

1 recipe of mushroom, arugula, ricotta filling (see below)

1 Large Stock Pot

Circle cutter

Egg wash (one egg whisked with some water)

Kosher Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colander or Spider

ravioli_13 The finished dish



Prepare your pasta into sheets as described in the pasta recipe and method. I continued to work on my floured and fabric covered surface for the ravioli assembly (See Above)

Take your circle cutter and lightly score your 1st sheet of pasta. (I made circle ravioli because I was having a hard time making uniform squares.)

Take your egg wash and lightly brush your dough at the edge of your circle imprint (trying to stay inside the circle not outside).

Using a small spoon or a teaspoon, take a heaping teaspoon of your Ricotta mix and place it in the center of each circle imprint and repeat for all the imprints.

Once you have filling on all of your ravioli spots take another sheet of your pasta and lay it on top of your sheet with the filling.

Then carefully starting at one end press down around the filling making sure to get out all the air bubbles, and repeat for all raviolis.

Take your circle cutter and cut out each of your ravioli making sure to center your filling in the middle of the cutter when you are cutting.

Once you have cut out the ravioli take a fork and lightly crimp the edges of each ravioli. Keep the scraps to the side, you can re roll it out to make more ravioli or any other pasta.

Repeat with the rest of your pasta dough. Once you have made all your ravioli you can either cook them straight away or freeze them for later. If freezing I suggest laying a piece of wax paper or parchment paper down on a sheet pan and place a single layer of ravioli on it and put in the freezer until frozen. Once they are frozen you can dump them into a Freezer zip top bag a store.

If you are going to cook them right away bring a large pot of water to a boil adding about a teaspoon of salt per quart of water so that your water is nice and salty and will season the pasta well.

Lower the heat on your water so it is just simmering and add your ravioli. They don’t take very long to cook I think I cooked mine for about 2 minutes total.Once they rose to the top of the pot I let them cook a little longer and removed from the pot with a spider.

Make sure to let the excess water drain out. To serve toss with a little olive oil and plate! ravioli_11 THE PASTA DOUGH

9 oz All Purpose Flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 Eggs (about 6oz)

Mixing bowl

Pasta Machine

Clean Cotton Fabric (a basic sewing muslin is a great choice and is available at all fabric stores for only a few dollars a yard)

In your bowl add the flour and create a well in the center and add the eggs.

Mix the eggs up with your fingers and slowly start incorporating the flour. Continue mixing until the dough starts to come together and turn out onto a floured work place and kneed for about 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes nice and smooth.

Divide your dough into 6 even pieces using your scale or by eye.

To set up your pasta making space lay out your fabric on a good long table space and clamp your pasta machine to the table over the fabric, then flour your fabric. The purpose of fabric and flour is to create a workspace that the dough will not stick to and so you can lay your rolled out pieces down while you finish the rest.

Take each piece and run it through your machine finishing at the second to the smallest setting (if you have never used a pasta machine there are a lot of great tutorials online).

Once you have rolled all your dough out you are ready to make your ravioli (above) or make any other pasta ravioli_09 MUSHROOM, ARUGULA, RICOTTA FILLING

I need to preface the below ‘recipe’ with the disclaimer that I did not measure anything when I made my filling and had some extra mushrooms and arugula. So this is more of a rough guide line of my process and the ingredients involved. Please use your own judgement and taste when making this.

1 package (about 10- 15 mushrooms) baby bella mushrooms caps only sliced into 1/4″ slices

1/2 bunch washed arugula (about 3 cups) chopped roughly into large pieces

7oz of Ricotta

1 Tablespoon of Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Large Saute pan

Small bowl

Heat up your pan on medium heat, once hot add in the butter, mushrooms, and some salt. Let sweat for about 5 minutes, then add the arugula into the pan with some more salt and some pepper and put the lid on the pan.

Let the vegetables cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms and arugula are soft and the flavors have melded well.

Transfer the mix to a cutting board making sure to leave the juice in the pan and chop everything into small 1/4″ pieces.

Transfer the chopped vegetables into the small bowl, add in the ricotta and mix together. Now you can use this mix for ravioli, stuffed shells, etc.


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