Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas time is here

Ginger molasses cookies with orange zest. Very tasty. I was too lazy to take an "after" picture, but the "before" picture looks like space boulders or something. Credit goes to my sister for helping to tackle this cookie job.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I'll admit, it's hard to keep up with a blog. Though it's not an excuse, I've been moonlighting as a food writer on Yelp. Check out my reviews, which have been featured a couple of times on the Philly website.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Would you like some cream cheese with those veggies?

Veggie cream cheese is something I gladly pay the extra 50 cents for at a bagel place, but I never tried to make it at home.

Seemed easy enough...fine dice carrot, celery, and green onion, mix it with cream cheese, add some salt (if you can't tell I'm a salt addict).

Turns out you should only try this with a surplus of cream cheese. A 1:1 veggies to cream cheese ratio is a little too high. Next time I'll try it when I have more than a few tablespoons of cream cheese to work with.

Tomato salad

Got some unreasonably expensive mini heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe's last weekend. To my surprise, they didn't taste nearly as good as normal cherry tomatoes, but the texture was beautiful. I decided to let them rest in a paper bag in my fridge for the next few days and give the benefit of the doubt with a tomato salad after they ripened a bit.

Not sure if I've done tomato salad on Table Vibrations before, but the dressing is a mix of sherry vinegar or sweet balsamic, olive oil, mustard, and black pepper. Tossed with halved cherry tomatoes, minced parsley (or basil), and some celery slivers for texture. Add coarse salt at the end, as it's best when the salt coats the dressed ingredients.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish, similar to what you might find at Yoshinoya, and Oyakodon literally means "parent and child" donburi since it contains chicken and egg. I have had trouble with getting this dish right in the past, but I think I found a good basic recipe that allows for some vibration. It's from a youtube channel called Cooking with DOG!. (note: this is not a video about eating dogs)

Basically you make the sauce in the pan and simmer everything cumulatively in the same pan. The hardest part is boning the chicken thighs...which really isn't all that hard if you've done it before.

I added chopped scallions as well as roughly chopped parsley.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pork chops revisited

This time with roasted garlic polenta! Now it's a complete meal.

Butterfly chicken

The only recipes I like to follow precisely are by Alton Brown. He's someone who actually tweaks his recipes scientifically. This is Alton's butterflied chicken.

Kosher chickens are pre-brined so they are flavorful and juicy. Plus, if you live in a Jew-less place like I do, kosher meat goes on sale often because they can't sell this stuff! $0.99/lb for kosher meat is a steal.

I guess the only different thing about roasting a chicken in this fashion is the butterflying. You basically yank out the keel bone by dividing the breast meat and dislocating the clavicles. Alton calls for broiling, but I wanted my veggies to soften up properly and I didn't want to babysit it. This took about an hour at 400 degrees.

Those dark spots under the skin are peppercorns. Alton wanted me to make a garlic lemon pepper paste, but I didn't have a mortar and pestle, so it's super rough. Next time I would just use ground pepper.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big and open (faced)

I like making lunch at home. Usually I'm at the hospital for lunch, but it's nice to think about what I'm going to eat rather than just open up my lunch bag or settle on whatever is at the cafeteria.

I wanted to eat these amazing little Trader Joes smoked herring that I've fallen in love with. I put it on some toast, cream cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, greens and topped it with capers. Turns out this makes for a gigantic mountain of a sandwich that required some clean up with a knife and fork.

Pork chops and caramelized onions

I love pork chops, but they are REALLY easy to overcook, and then only applesauce can save them. This is an easy dinner, though you need the right tools to pull this off.

Caramelized onions:
Really easy if you know what you're doing. Use more onions than you think, because they cook down to nothing. Cut onion into rounds, place into non-stick pan with olive oil over low heat. The key to this is low and slow. 20-30 minutes, just keep it moist with wine when it looks dry. Salt and pepper at the end. Don't add sugar, it just gets gummy.

Pork chop (bone in, thick cut, organic preferred):
1) Brine the chop (I like a sweet/vinegary brine for pork. Try a fist full of salt, a gallon of cold water, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a splash of rice vinegar, and bunch of pepper corns - 2 hours tops)
2) Heat pan (ovenproof, cast iron if possible) over medium flame. Preheat oven to 350
3) Drain the chop. Pat dry with paper towels.
4) Oil the chop, NOT the pan (something with a high smoke point, like canola or peanut). Salt and pepper lightly
5) Sear about 3 minutes on each side, until you get a good crust. I like to add butter or oil to the pan right when the pork starts to keep it from sticking and smoking.
6) When you get a good sear, put the whole pan in the oven for about 5 minutes or until you get internal temp of around 155 near the bone.
7) Remove from oven and pan, let rest on cutting board with foil tent.

Pair with a bright red wine and some pasta or fennel salad. You have now made a dish that costs $25 at a nice restaurant for about $5!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Carrot cake

Alton Brown's carrot cake needed no extra vibration. It was good, but make sure you bake it long enough. Mine was a little too squishy in the middle. And for the love of all things sweet, please use cream cheese frosting.

Dancing Sausages

Down in Sarasota, Rich tries to make us breakfast, with an interesting revelation.

First time I've tried this, but here is a video:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last meal in philly apartment

I left my apartment in philly for 6 weeks to study for the boards at my parents house. I had the following items in my fridge:

Hot dogs
Hamburger buns
Red bliss and mini yukon golds (with so many shoots that it looked like they were trying to escape the crisper)
1 green onion
2 normal onions
Plain yogurt

Without further adeiu, DINNER:

Two part breakfast bash: waffle sandwich and carrot cake

I like making bigger breakfasts on the weekend, when I am foggy from the night before and hungry because I normally eat breakfast at 5:30AM on weekdays.

This is easy, different, and soul quenching. Two over easy eggs on top of frozen toaster waffles with lots of pepper and syrup on top. Use butter to fry the eggs. If you're feeling crazy, try it with hot sauce, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, ham, etc.

This is what I made last night for breakfast this morning. Carrot cake with tons of fresh ground nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Golden raisins keep it looking fresh and summery. If you're into it and have a cuisinart, check out Alton Brown's recipe.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Guest star: Liz

Was invited to a tasting last month for my friend who is in pastry school. She made this smashing pistachio creme brulee with chocolate cookies. The doily was a little girlie for my tastes, though.

Check out Liz's adventures at

Poached eggs

Poaching eggs is surprisingly difficult. The timing seems kind of weird, because you get a bunch of carry-over after you take them out. Here's what I did:
  1. Simmer a few inches of water.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and half pinch of sour salt (or vinegar, but I didn't have any white vinegar on hand).
  3. One egg at a time, crack egg into a bowl and slide the egg into the simmering water.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. (Cook longer if you don't like runny eggs, but 5 minutes seemed to give me pretty hard cooked eggs and 4 minutes wasn't runny enough)
I put mine on top of hash browns and chopped proscuitto, with some hot sauce and S&P to top it all off. Next stop, hollandaise!

Salad night

Some avocado, peppadew peppers, tomatoes, field greens, and a hunk of rustic wheat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wok fired eggplant

This is a spicy dish that I unfortunately made inferno-hot. The recipe comes from Grace Young's book, The Breath of a Wok, which is beautiful if you ever are interested in stir-frying.

Basically it's steamed eggplant that is then stir fried with some chili and a basic stir fry sauce. I cut it in half as a main dish for one person, but forgot to cut the amount of chili in half. Fuego!

Braised cabbage

Sorry! Long hiatus due to the lack of motivation to cook much anymore. Here is some braised cabbage that kept me going for a good 3 meals. Basically cabbage + apple cider vinegar + garlic + onions + water + sugar. I'd use real apples next time to add some more flavor.