Tag Archives: recipe

The Starving Artist: Savory Nectarine Salad

3 Aug
SavoryNectarineSalad 
I am so mad! It was raining on Sunday, and I desperately wanted to avoid having to lug my grocery bags home in the rain. Ah, the perils of a fabulous Manhattan lifestyle! So, the starving artist, though trying to be better about pinching pennies, caved and bought lunch out on Monday. (Dos Toros, if you want to know.) So, I wrap up work later than intended (it’s ALWAYS later than intended), walked across town (my exercise plan), and went to the grocery store.
My neighbor, E, had left fresh basil on my doorknob so I knew I wanted to make something with that. But what? I remembered seeing a peach caprese appetizer on Pinterest (the recipe was from Say Yes and re-blogged on Bloglovin’), and it occurred to me I could riff off that. I decide, what if I make something like that but with nectarines instead and turn it into a more savory and filling salad by adding tomatoes?
So, I get all the ingredients, go home, wash everything, and make the salad. I’m feeling very proud of myself for adulting so successfully—brown-bagging it instead of eating out? Check! Salad instead of pasta? Check! Adding a new recipe to my repertoire? Check! Tuesday morning arrives, and I take the pre-made salad out of the fridge and place it in my bag … and then I get distracted, AND LEAVE THE SALAD BEHIND. I of course don’t realize this til I’ve already gotten on the train. There’s not enough time on my lunch break to go back for it, I won’t be home til late in the evening, and my apartment is a summer sweatbox so I don’t trust eating anything left out of the fridge for twelve+ hours. I ended up at Pret and will have to throw out the salad I put all that time and money and effort into. Sigh.
 
My saving grace is that I had enough to make two salads! So guess what I’ll be eating tomorrow? The salad—unless, of course, I forget it too. In that case, I might need to have my brain checked out.
 
Here is a salad recipe for those of us who hate lettuce.
Savory Nectarine Salad
 
  • Wash nectarines and cut into slices
  • Wash Campari tomatoes and cut into slices
  • Cut fresh mozzarella into slices
  • Wash the basil and use only the leaves
  • Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!
 
I know, I know, for all my moaning about the work that went into it, it’s super easy to make! 
 
I’ve thought up some alternatives:
 
  • Add some slices of red onion
  • Add a light vinaigrette or flavored olive oil
  • Try peaches instead of nectarines
  • Try haloumi cheese instead of mozzarella 
  • Try grilling the tomatoes and the nectarines
  • Put the ingredients between a baguette and enjoy as a sandwich 
 
I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the possibilities!
Want more possibilities? Check out my other recipes:
 
 
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The Starving Artist Toasts Ernest Hemingway with a Daiquiri Recipe

22 Jul

surreal2

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

 

Starving artists know that birthdays mean free drinks at the bar. Today we toast to Ernest Hemingway, who would’ve turned 115 years old yesterday.

Hemingway had a bit of a reputation as a drinker. “I have drunk since I was fifteen and few things have given me more pleasure,” he wrote to the Russian translator and critic Ivan Kashkin. He and James Joyce used to toss back drink after drink together, though in that same 1935 letter to Kashkin he said alcohol wasn’t beneficial to writing. He was always a drinker, but after getting injured in a plane crash he drank even more heavily.

More than a few articles have been written about Hemingway’s drinking:

  • 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Ernest Hemingway’s Drinking Habits (via Food Republic)
  • The Passionate Affair Between Alcohol and Ernest Hemingway: The Paris Years (via Modern Drunkard)
  • How to Drink, the Hemingway Way (via Salon)
  • Why Do Writers Drink? (via The Guardian)
  • Hemingway and Me, at the Bar (via The Washington Post)

Being an alcoholic is probably not the reputation anyone wants. No one wants to be dependent on alcohol. It can destroy your life and the lives around you. If you drink, drink responsibility. But there’s no shame in not drinking either!

Hemingway’s favorite drink was a martini, but he was also closely associated with mojitos and daiquiris. I thought a daiquiri would make a great summertime drink, so here’s the Starving Artist Hemingway Daiquiri recipe:

2 ounces white rum

¾ ounces lime juice

½ ounce grapefruit juice

¼ ounce maraschino liqueur

Blend these altogether with a cup of ice. Who has time and money for fancy garnishes like maraschino cherries and lime wedges? Drink this sucker from whatever glass you have clean as you sit on your stoop, defining your own generation.

 

You might also like these other posts from my blog:

A Manhattan in Big Sur: Cocktail Recipe for Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur Manhattan

16 Oct

Big Sur tells the story of Jack Kerouac’s alter ego escaping the pressures of fame brought on after the publishing success of On the Road by hiding out at the desolate cabin owned by his friend, City Lights Bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti (called Lorenzo Monsanto in the novel).  Kerouac had a notorious sweet tooth, perhaps most noticeably evident by all that delicious apple pie a la mode he writes of eating in On the Road.  In Big Sur, his friends point out his taste for a sweet of a different sort—sweet drinks!

Kerouac’s drink of choice in Big Sur is the classic cocktail the Manhattan, which gets its sweetness from vermouth, orange bitters, and a maraschino cherry.  The Manhattan has been called “the drinking man’s drink,” though, probably because of all the whiskey in it.

Here’s the history of the Manhattan, as told by That’s the Spirit!:

Samuel J. Tilden was elected Governor of New York in 1874, and to celebrate, socialite Jenny Jerome threw a party at the Manhattan Club in New York City.  Jerome asked the bartender to create a drink for the occasion. The bartender mixed 1 1/2 ounces bourbon, 1 1/4 ounces each of sweet and dry vermouth, and a dash of bitters. It met with Jerome’s approval and she named the drink the “Manhattan,” after the club.  Jenny Jerome later earned her place in history as she later became Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston Churchill, one of England’s most famous Prime Ministers.  The Manhattan became a classic cocktail that has survived a number of changes over the years and is presently enjoying a comeback alongside its cousin, the Martini.

That’s the most popular version of the story, but of course, like most cocktail history, there are other versions of the story as well.

That said, there are also variations of Manhattans.  It can be made with rye whiskey or bourbon.  Although Big Sur doesn’t specify, Kerouac would probably have preferred the bourbon variety, since rye whiskey is more on the bitter side.  Likewise, there are different types of vermouth: sweet and dry.  The bitters can either be traditional Angostura bitters or Angostura Orange.  Some people add a lemon peel for garnish.

On almost any given page of Big Sur there is a reference to alcohol, as the book documents Kerouac gripped by the disease of alcoholism.  While many culture critics have accused Kerouac of promoting a nefarious lifestyle, Kerouac makes the dangers of alcohol quite plain in Big Sur as he portrays himself in deplorable states of breakdown.  In addition to the maraschino cherry, some bartenders will even add a bit of the cherry juice to the drink.  Yum!

Big Sur also describes Kerouac drinking a lot of port wine.  A Manhattan made with port instead of vermouth is called a Ruby Manhattan.  Since he frequented the famous Nepenthe in Big Sur, though, I’m going to go with their recipe.  It’s quite possible the restaurant has changed its cocktail recipe since Kerouac’s autobiographical novel was published in 1962, but their current Manhattan ingredients includes Makers Mark, sweet vermouth, and blood orange bitters.

Nepenthe doesn’t include the ingredient breakout, but based on other general Manhattan recipes, this is my take on Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur Manhattan:

  • 3 oz. Makers Mark
  • 2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • dash of blood orange bitters
  • a Maraschino cherry as garnish, but while you’re at it add a splash of cherry juice to sweeten

Stir the ingredients over ice, then strain into a cocktail glass (the Martini glass) to serve straight up. Garnish with the cherry.

Tasty Tuesday: Visual Inspiration in Your Cupboard

25 Oct

While I was browsing through all the wonderful posts on Black Eiffel the other day, I came across one that I just had to share with you.  In “Method,” graphic designer Rachel Jones reveals that she pins up food articles and recipes on a hidden wall in her kitchen.

It got me thinking that the inside of the pantry cabinet is the perfect place to tape up photographic inspiration for recipes.  I’m kind of a creature of habit when it comes to cooking.  I forget that I know how to make all sorts of delicious foods, and instead cook up a rotation of angel hair with sauce, fried eggs with onions and tomatoes, rice and beans, and pierogis.  Maybe if I tape up a few magazine cutouts of some new recipes or even just of foods I know how to cook but never think of making, there will be a little more variety to my meals.  I’ll see the inspiration every time I reach for a box of pasta in the cabinet, but the magazines will still be hidden away so I have that nice, streamlined look to my kitchen.

So much easier than poring over my cookbooks, searching for something—anything—to inspire a meal when I’m already hungry!

2011 Gabby Awards: The After Party

14 Jun

Are you sick of hearing about the 2011 Gabby Awards yet?  I’m going to skip over the actual awards ceremony itself because as the main event it’s already gotten press coverage elsewhere.  What I want to talk about now is the after party!  I mean, let’s be honest here, most of the time when you’re at home on your couch watching the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards you have to sit through an awful lot of boring acceptance speeches.  Don’t you really wish you could find out who’s dancing with whom at the after parties?  I have to hand it to the Gabby Awards, though: instead of a bunch of “I’d like to thank my publicist” speeches, the winners shared beautiful and tender stories of immigration and growing up Greek American.  I was thoroughly engaged and inspired.

After the 2011 Gabby Awards ceremony on Ellis Island, we boarded a ferry to Chelsea Piers.  You may recall I recently spent an afternoon exploring Chelsea Piers.  Not surprisingly, the awards ceremony had run waaaaaaay over schedule.  Hey, we were on Greek time, what do you expect?  We’re notorious for being late.  We were tired and hungry and probably felt a tinge of what our Greek ancestors felt when they were coming into Ellis Island all those years ago.  The pitch-black sky was perfect for witnessing the surprise Gabby Awards founder Gregory Pappas had arranged: the Empire State Building lit up in the colors of the Greek flag!

When we got to Chelsea Piers at 11:30 pm, Greek American Iron Chef Cat Cora had prepared a special buffet dinner for us.  Cat Cora was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so her food is a unique pairing of Greek and Southern flavors.  Unfortunately for me (a vegetarian), both Greek and Southern cooking tend to focus on meat.  My tablemates told me the moussaka was delicious.  I particularly enjoyed Cat Cora’s melitzanosalata (a flavorful eggplant spread) and her more innovative asagio orzo.

If you go to Cat Cora’s website, she offers some free recipes.  My dad is obsessed with avocados (you’ll have to wait to read my memoir for the story behind this) so I want to tell him about her avocado tzatzkiki spread.

I have to admit, though, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so even before I checked out the main course I was at the dessert table!  And it was to the dessert table I kept returning.  There were too-pretty-to-eat cookies by Eleni’s, a bakery I’ve languished in many times.  There were tiny squares of bliss by Chocolat Moderne.  I’m a sucker for gourmet chocolates.  What I loved about Chocolate Moderne, founded by Greek American chocolatier Joan Coukos, is that the gourmet chocolate company invokes classic Greek flavors in their chocolates.  Does Kalamata olives and chocolate sounds like a strange flavor combination?  It’s not.  It’s ammmmazing!  The dessert table also featured the best cupcake I have ever tasted, by the Greek American sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne behind Georgetown Cupcakes.  Seriously, Magnolia Bakery has nothing on Georgetown Cupcakes.  My sister’s a huge cupcake fan (not quite to the extent that my dad is obsessed with avocados but let’s just say she’s done a lot “research” into finding the best cupcakes in NYC) so I’m thinking we have to take a roadtrip to DC this summer to meet these Greek American cupcake sisters and eat their cupcakes!

As we ate all the delicious food and drank hearty glasses of pinot noir the band played Greek music.  Glykeria took to the stage to perform.  She is so cute and put on a great show.  It wasn’t long before many of us had pushed the tables and white couches away to start dancing.  Some people even got up on the tables and started dancing.  If you’ve ever been to a Greek restaurant or club, you know this is not at all uncommon.

But did I mention the dessert table??

Feta Salsa

10 Feb

These days it’s all about eating simply.  Dashing between work and class, there are at least two days a week that I eat all three of my meals on the go.  Class doesn’t let out until 10:30 pm, and if I get out a little early I try to pop in Whole Foods to pick up some food since it’s on my way to the subway.

The other day I was in Whole Foods, picking up an orange, pumpkin muffins with actual pumpkin seeds on the tops (double yum!), and soup mix (cut-up fresh veggies that I actually use for stir-fry not soup), when I saw something new: feta salsa.

I eat a lot of pita and hummus and pita and tabouli.  I haven’t gotten sick of it yet, but the idea of something new to put on my pita got my attention.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t justify the price.  It was about $3 more than the hummus.  That might not sound like a lot, but I could buy three Wet ‘n Wild nail polishes for that price or stamps to mail a handwritten letter to a friend.  So, I was quite thrilled when I stumbled upon this feta salsa recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

I’m figuring I could make a batch of it on a Sunday and eat it all week long for lunch.

Feta is one of those cheeses that I love and that makes me feel homesick/festive (my family always ate it at holidays), but that I never really purchase on my own.  I’m not quite sure why.  Maybe because it’s such a distinctive cheese.  I do enjoy it, though, and this feta salsa recipe is a great way to jazz up my lunches.

If you have any tips on quick lunches, leave it in the comments section below.