Author Archive

bought marmalade? that is rather feeble.

April 27, 2010

I’m on a canning bender. No rational reason really applies: it’s not canning season, and I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands. Suspicion was aroused on day 2 of the bender when caramelized onion relish and lemon curd joined the pickled asparagus in the growing pile of jars on our counter top. I want to have lots of good food from home to bring when I move upstate. That sounds so reasonable in my head! I think it’s really an expression of not-so-secret anxiety, an unconscious choice to substitute boiling of water baths for boiling over of tempers.  When I say I’m canning because I’m worried about leaving the 24 hour delis, the grocery store within walking distance, Jakes for meat, I really mean I don’t want to leave my roommates. I don’t want to leave our apartment.

What if I miss out on collapsing in Prospect Park on hot days? What if I miss out on how long the daylight gets between the end of work and bedtime and how much fun can fit in there? What if I miss out on living with Liz again, or another really great sub-letter? What if I miss out on the list of summer concerts Nicole is currently compiling? The condition is called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and right now I’ve got it bad. Luckily, this is a regular occurrence for me, and soon after I leave, I’ll realize there is grass to nap in out there, roads to bike and hopefully a good bar or two. That the sun sets only 2 minutes earlier today in Tivoli than in Brooklyn, which means there will still be those long summer afternoons.  I hope there will be friendly people to meet up where I’m moving … and if not, I know I’ll come back to this city, not so long from now that my friends will be gone … and … there are some great videos on Youtube on learning to knit I’ve been meaning to watch.

Anyway, canning is the perfect cooking project for anyone who suffers from FOMO. You can catch produce at its peak, press pause and keep it for a bleaker season, or a bleaker moment in the contents of your cupboards. Right now, asparagus and ramps are the way to go, locally. Citrus has been on my brain too, because even organic citrus is so so cheap right now!

So today, marmalade.

And yesterday, deep purple onion relish with red wine and vinegar and a pale yellow lemon curd (made with yolks from such pretty blue eggs!).

And the day before, asparagus.

And tomorrow? Who knows what we’ll add to the pile. Ideas?

Recipes (and basic jar-processing instructions) after the jump …



driving me bananas

April 16, 2010

(Photo Credit: Dan Fuerst)

I just read an article today that had to go on this blog. It’s about recipes.

“The recipe book always contains two things: news of how something is made, and assurance that there’s a way to make it, with the implicit belief that if I know how it is done I can show you how to do it. The premise of the recipe book is that these two things are naturally balanced; the secret of the recipe book is that they’re not. The space between learning the facts about how something is done and learning how to do it always turns out to be large, at times immense.” – Adam Gopnik

Read more here.


April 14, 2010

Photo Credit: Channing Kehoe

“This might be the last group trip we ever go on,” Sami and I told ourselves, climbing into the tour bus. We remembered field trips, overnight camping trips in middle school, community service trips, study abroad … we’ve sure been lucky in quantity and quality of trips. This recent spring break trip was through the Gallatin Deans Honor Society, a lofty name for a group of kids and professors that meet every other week to discuss, well, this year, Greece. And then we got to go there. So that was great.

Inspired before we even packed our bags, we experimented with dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), and brought them to our meeting for everyone to try. While these stuffed grape leaves grace many a standard salad bar and can be purchased in the frozen food section of your local grocery store, the homemade version is a different experience altogether. Ask Sami, who wouldn’t even try them the first time we made them — her experience up to that point with the dish was with the dense, turdlike dolmas, which seriously resemble in appearance and texture those owl pellets we used to dissect in science class. But ask her again now, three or four batches in.

What makes these so special? They are orphanos, or meatless — but hold your association with gelatinous rice filling — ours are stuffed with brown rice steamed with onions, garlic and dill, mixed with chopped raisins and toasted pine nuts and drizzled with olive oil and lemon. And they are remarkably airy inside (due to what many consider a dolma making faux pa, but I would call a fresh idea).

At the bottom of this post we’ve shared our recipe. But first — a little bit about our travels.


in protest of those roommates not posting!

April 13, 2010

The average person passes 1/2 liters of fart gas per day, over an average of 14 daily farts.

a long but insufficient excuse

April 9, 2010

We’ve been gone too long — I couldn’t remember our password.

Here’s a short explanation why, though  it’s not a real one … the real one has more to do with laziness, with collective angst about the future, and with the amount of time second semester college students spend in bars.

We last posted a month ago (less one day).

The month has been challenging, in exciting ways, difficult ways, and scary and sad ways. What follows is  a list of the more fun ones — but part of our hearts are at home right now with the people we love.

Since then, one roommate has traveled to Berlin,

one to New Orleans,

one to Paris,

two to Greece,

and two to Far Rockaway.

Since then, we have discovered the joy of duty free.

Since then, the contents of our fridge has dwindled to its current state (maple syrup from our CSA, bright pink broth Sami made with beets, butter, ketchup, 2 PBR tall boys, yogurt, a large quantity of souvenir cheese, and half a bag of lettuce)

Since then, one roommate got the ultimate full time job – can’t give more away, she’s got to do this post!

Since then, one roommate got a part time job researching and writing about something we all love.

Since then, we’ve cheered for the Healthcare bill, and stopped planning rushes to nasal drip specialists etc. to squeeze the last drops out of our plans. (Except nobody told Nic — she is currently at the eye doctor.)

Since then, one roommate has logged 200+ miles of bike training, not including commutes to school.

Since then, the roommate who sometimes tags along has logged about 40.

Since then, after ceaseless berating — one roommate has finally purchased a helmet.

Since then, the last of the roommates passed their colloquii after much diligent preparation.

Since then, our relationship with the bartender downstairs has evolved, especially after he chatted with one roommate’s mother and played game of banana grams on the floor.

Since then, one roommate earned a killer never-have-i-ever point.

Since then, at least one more roommate has developed a fanatic appreciation for Taboo.

Since then, one roommate kugeled around the kitchen all weekend to prepare a seder for a Swede, a South African, a Frenchie and two Stahls but not Val.

Since then, we have received threats of various levels and sincerity about our blog’s paralysis.

Since then, one roommate turned 22 dressed like it was 2001, and was on a beer run during her birthday song.

Since then, we sang again!

Speaking of singing … we’ve hosted several sing alongs in the past weeks.

Since then, we’ve cooked dolmas twice, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, flourless, dairyless chocolate cookies, egg salad and vegetable barley soup.

Since then, we’ve eaten a whole cheesecake.

Since then, we made hard choices and pared our tupperware collection down to several dozen.

Since then, we’ve hosted more than 12 guests, including 3 Couchsurfers — from Germany, Rochester and Montreal — and 2 old friends who feel more like 6th and 7th roommates.

Since then, two roommates planted 4 rows of carrots.

Since then 4 of us left for the weekend, but the remaining roommate wasted no time finding replacements.

Since then, one roommate got to be the cool older sister, changing the date on a bus ticket among other bad-ass crimes.

Since then, we’ve collectively purchased 6 bus tickets to Boston and 4 to DC.

Since then, two families met for Easter with minimal dysfunction and a great game of charades.

Since then, a Crop to Cup opened a shop down the block, but we still sometimes go to Henry’s Express.

Since then, we’ve seen the sun come out, the days get longer, and the ice cube trays get re-filled three times as often.

And now we’re back, maybe sporadically, but we really don’t have much else to do anymore … so we’ll be filling you in over the next few days about some of the stories above that beg for expansion.

we’re samissin’ you, amanda

February 19, 2010

Radio silence from 111 today, but here’s a sound bite and picture from Amanda Sperber:

Prize-Winning Samosa Pie goes International!  I made 2 in my flat in London for a dinner party using kale instead of spinach.  Fun Fact: did you know that in the UK they cut right to the chase and label vegetable shortening vegetable fat?

Dear Amanda, can we hire you as our London Correspondent? Love, 111.

chili today hot tamale

February 16, 2010

“Go to the drugstore. Biggest sale of the year on chocolate!” _____ e-mailed, urging me to take advantage of post-Valentines day sales. This is what love looks like in America. Hundreds of heart shaped boxes of chocolate, available starting Monday for drastically reduced prices.

But this is what love looks like to me right now. My new cast iron pot. Dan gave it to me. (obligatory aww).

Here is our super bowl chili in my new pot. I don’t want to talk about the chili (because it’s the secret recipe of Gabe, the chef at Dickson’s) and because there is still about 1/3 of a gallon (read: really big tub) sitting in our fridge and I can’t even look at it anymore I’ve eaten so much of it in the past week. (But if YOU want some, we’ll be selling it soon, come by!)

But the pot. I can talk about the pot forever. Most cast iron pots look pretty traditional and old fashioned. This one is Copco, a brand that was created in the ’60s because there was a “market niche for cast iron cookware to be fashion forward in color and shape.” How funny is that? Mine looks like a UFO. I love it.

Dan got it off Craiglist, from a man who lives in his neighborhood who was selling a really large collection of cast iron cookware. People think Copco is a Danish company because of the designs and because they had a production facility in Denmark for awhile. But it’s not. A company called Wilton purchased Copco in 1984, after the company had basically ceased to make cookware because of Le Creuset’s success. Instead, Copco now makes colorful teakettles, picking up on another trend. So they’ve got that going for them.

If you are ever looking for the way to a girls heart, a pot is a good option. Practical. Long lasting. Pretty. Probably will have a high rate of return (for your tummy).

Oh yeah one more thing about the pot … the lid itself is a little enamel coated iron skillet! Future plans for the pot include turkey soup, bread pudding, palak daal (the list goes on).

samosa pie

February 7, 2010

This is the story of the pie I made for the 3rd Annual Brooklyn Pie Contest (to benefit BK Farmyards — a very cool organization). I’ve got to blurt it out — my samosa pie won! Well, it won “People’s Choice” out of all 62 pies entered, and the judges gave it 2nd place in the judged category. I don’t think I’ve ever won a raffle, let alone a cooking contest. I couldn’t believe it! So I can officially, un-sarcastically put “Prize-Winning” in front of the name of this recipe. For the story of and recipe for Zoe’s Prize-Winning Samosa Pie, keep reading …


family fun

February 3, 2010

Hey mom, how was work? What’s for dinner? Do you mind if I take some pictures of the kitchen for our blog? Monday night dinner with my family, readers … come see!


birthday bushel

February 1, 2010

This post is about the crab feast I threw! After a whole lot of description of mine you’ll find some good instructions on how to have yours. Which is the purpose. Because have one you should.

I’m not sure I’m ready to write about this yet because I swear I still smell like Old Bay. But I also can’t wait because it was really exciting, and I have lots to say! On Monday I cooked a bushel of crabs to celebrate Dan and Claire’s birthdays. A BUSHEL of crabs. Okay, this post really starts a few weeks ago when Sami, Emily, our forager friend Annie, and I trekked to the Hunts Point Fulton Fish Market in the wee hours. When I saw a bushel basket full of #2s I almost felt the summer creeping in. I thought about Dan, because he’s like a kid in a candy store when it comes to crabs, except he pairs his treat with more than a few cans of beer. The man working the stall gave me a good price, a wink, and his card. M Slavin & Sons, originally a Brooklyn-based fish purveyor, is now a global wholesale brand, and he guaranteed I could call anytime for a similar price and local delivery. So I called for the first occasion that presented itself: a birthday feast for two very important seafood loving people!