Tag Archives: Onion

Minestrone Soup | “Moonstruck”

by Blake

New York in the 80’s seems to be like the New York of today, except a little dirtier, more Italians, and fewer minorities. Personally, I feel as though Hollywood just doesn’t make old Italian people like they used to. In fact, this movie is like a celebration of Italian New York, complete with food, from start to finish. The movie even opens with Dean Martin’s That’s Amorewhich you have definitely heard. My actual favorite food seen in the film was the Egg-In-The-Hole being made by the best Greek-playing-Italian Olympia Dukakis, but is really too simple to require a recipe, right?

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Awesome.

Cher is Loretta Castorini, a 37-year-old widow who looks 26 (even with gray hair) because Cher ages backward, very very slowly and who lives with her parents in an area of Brooklyn with no cars and no minorities. Her fiancé, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) flies to Sicily right after proposing to Loretta in a restaurant.  But he wants his angry, estranged brother Ronny Cammareri (Nic Cage, who appears to work as a coal shoveler at Cammareri Brothers Bakery in Brooklyn) to attend, and asks Loretta to get him there while he’s away.

The scene where Cher goes to the bakery to convince Ronny to come to the wedding contains what might be the first over-the-top Nic Cage speech scene in film history, a harbinger of the Nic Cage to come, the Nic Cage we all know and love. I would have checked, but it’s been a long time since I saw Raising Arizona and we all know what happens when you watch too many Nic Cage films.

So, Spoiler Alert: How awesome would it be for a strange woman to show up at your job, tell you she’s marrying your brother and then cook you a medium rare steak? Beautiful Cher is having dinner with Raising Arizona Nicolas Cage. And it becomes exactly the kind of relationship beginning you’d expect from a Nic Cage baker character with a wooden hand. After not nearly enough scotch to make me believe Ronny could just get a woman like Cher into bed after a steak and conversation, especially when she’s marrying his brother, I had to tweet my assertion to the world:

No way does Cher (seen here):

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Fall for Raising Arizona-level Nic Cage:

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Cher tweeted back at me, which was awesome. Then her fans started to, which was overwhelming. They’re pretty big fans of Nic Cage in this movie. So you decide the feasibility of this romance. In my opinion, it must have been one hell of a moon that night.

And it was. The day after Loretta meets Ronny, she’s doing her rounds as a bookkeeper at her uncle’s deli, where he asks her about the moon. The moon got into everyone the night before, apparently. As she goes, her uncle, walking off, yells to the back: “Hey Frankie! Make me a bowl of Minestrone!” Minestrone is what you eat when you’re in love.

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Or when you’re having dinner with Frasier’s dad.

So let’s start this soup which celebrates love, Minestrone is not going to choke a pig, but its a great way to start a meal that could.
Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup carrots, scrubbed, 1/4-inch dice
1 cup onions, 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 quart water
1 cup plum tomatoes, diced
8 ounces fresh pasta
1 cup zucchini, diced and blanched
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
Fresh cracked pepper

Garnish
Grated cheese (such as Parmesan or Romano)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into little scraps

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I grow my own basil, and so should everyone else.

 

* If you don’t have white wine on hand, chicken or vegetable stock will do in a pinch!

Instructions

• In a large saucepan, heat olive oil for 1 minute on medium-high.

• Add  carrots and sauté for 1 minute.

• Add the onions and sauté for 1 additional minute before adding the garlic, celery, and rosemary.

• Sauté this mixture for 5 minutes, or until the ingredients are caramelized.

• Add the white wine and bay leaf, bring to a boil, and add the water and tomatoes.

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• Bring to a boil, add the pasta, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

• Remove the pan from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, and swirl in the zucchini and spinach.

• Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

• Call Frasier’s Dad out for being too old to sleep with college girls and/or enjoy the zest love brought to your life.

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FYI – Cammareri Brothers bakery at Henry and Sackett Streets in Brooklyn still open!

 

 

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Beef and Bacon Pie with Onions In Gravy | “Game of Thrones”

by Blake Stilwell of (according to numerous online Game of Thrones-based personality tests) House Baratheon.

"Our Favorite Food"

“Ours is Our Favorite Food”

I actually believe if House Stilwell had a place in Westeros, our sigil would likely be a fat bear, wearing a bib and drinking  two fingers of scotch. I also think this is probably Robert Baratheon’s personal sigil, one he just never talked about.  But this isn’t about me, this is a celebration!

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This month, HBO dropped the latest season of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray, a gift for which I have already pre-ordered for my mother (it was her Christmas gift. Don’t judge me. I got schmaltzy gifts for her for the past five years and I think she actually liked this much better). Of course I didn’t wait for this to watch. Who possibly could? To celebrate this momentous occasion (and maybe have it available for this year’s premiere of Season Four), As Eaten brings you something as epic as the Game of Thrones theme song: a hearty dish from the North!

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Not that far North.

No, not Ygritte. It’s a Beef and Bacon Pie, from the lands around Winterfell! The recipe comes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: the Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, based on their blog Inn At The Crossroads. This book is more than a recipe book. Its an exhaustively-researched history of food and medieval cookery. It’s a fascinating mix of narrative and historical context. I highly recommend this. It’s so much more than a cookbook. And if you’re throwing a Game of Thrones-themed party, you will not find a better companion!

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Well.. maybe one better companion…

The North of Westeros is a vast, cold place. As such, the food tends to toward what we in the US call “comfort food.” They are heavy, hearty plates, full of meats, gravies, breads, and such. This recipe is no different. The difference is where the comfort food in the US can be bland at times, save the use of salt and pepper, the use of fruits and spices in this  meat mixture brings a unique, exotic flavor.

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It’ll taste better than you think it will.

But you’ll need to start with the medieval pastry dough. There is a special recipe, and the first ingredient should be an indicator of the uniqueness of flavors I’m talking about. If it sounds weird that the North of Westeros uses Saffron in its baking doughs, there is a very interesting explanation, based in both the lore of the Game of Thrones universe as well as Medieval History, thoroughly researched and presented to the reader. It’s really a good read. And it’s delicious.

Pinch of Saffron
1/2 C Water
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
3 C Flour 2 Egg Yolks, beaten

Dissolve the saffron in the water. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are only crumb-sized pieces. Add the egg yolks and saffron water until the mixture is sticky. To pre-bake a shell, line a pan with thin-rolled dough.use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 350° F.

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Beef and Bacon Pie

The book offers two recipes, a modern version and a medieval version. The recipe I used from this book is more of the medieval sort, which I think more appropriate, given the setting of the show and books.

1/2 c thick-cut bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs stew beef, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c prunes
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c dates pitted and chopped
1 c beef broth
2-3 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cook the bacon in a saucepan until the fat runs from it, then drain off the fat. To the bacon pan, add the beef, spices, vinegar, and fruits. Add enough broth to wet the mixture until its runny. Mix in the flour and cook until the juices form a gravy. Cool the mixture. Line a 9-inch pie pan with a pastry dough and fill it with the meat mixture.

The book calls for a pastry lid. But the book has a great photo of a pie with a bacon lattice lid, so we decided to go with this because it was so much more epic. We used the remaining chewy bacon that wasn’t quite crispy to form the lattice so it would crips in the oven. The fruit will melt as the pie bakes and form a sweet, salty, savory mix of flavors that is absolutely fantastic.

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Onions in Gravy

10 oz boiler or pearl onions
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig of freshly chopped savory herb, such as rosemary or thyme
1/3 c apple cider
1 tbsp flour
3 c beef stock
Splash of Brandy

Clean and peel the onions. Quarter seven of them and put the rest aside. In a deep frying pan, add the honey, herbs, and quartered onions.make sure the onions get covered with the honey-butter mixture, cook for 8 minutes, browning the onions. Add the cider to the pan in three distinct splashes. let the cider heat between splashes. Sprinkle flour into the pan and form a gravy. Add the stock and the rest of the onions and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce until it has a thicker, more gravy-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. We garnished with rosemary because it looked nice and we had some left over.

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This one-two punch combination of sweet and savory is a filling, hearty meal fit for you or any Stark. Any Stark that may still be alive, that is.

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Aubergine Stew | “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

Star Trek is a show with which most people have some familiarity, especially now that the JJ Abrams movies are popular (don’t get me started on that). Star Trek is a permanent entry in the US pop culture lexicon. Most people know at least who Captain Kirk is and who Mr. Spock is, but beyond that, it is left to the fans of the shows to know who is who on the Enterprise, who does what on the ship, and so on. It takes an even bigger fan to be familiar with Star Trek in its further incarnations: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, etc.Warning: Huge Star Trek fan is about to write about Star Trek.

Everyone has to eat, even in the 23rd century.  There are a lot of beverages that were favorites of the various crews… Worf’s fondness for prune juice is well-documented.  To this day, I still order tea the iconic way Captain Picard did. And Mr. Scott (Scotty) enjoyed scotch on many occasions.

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Three fingers of scotch make you a miracle worker.

Yet, aside from the occasional view of the bright blue, nearly glowing Romulan Ale, the still-moving tentacles of Klingon Gakh or some such other slight asides,  food wasn’t really a focus for the Original Series or the Next Generation. The feature of food really came into its own in the third incarnation of the series, Deep Space Nine. Set on a space station in a remote area of the galaxy, combined with the setting of a series of shops and restaurants on the station, allowed for the introduction of new customs and culture into the canon. Crew members met for regular lunches, dinners and happy hours. Crewmen had strong Klingon coffee in the morning and ate dinners with their families at night. The commander of the station, Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, even had a father who was a famous chef in New Orleans back on Earth. Consequently, much of the food in the Sisko household and on the show is of Cajun-Creole origin.

Right away, in the first episode, Sisko is imagining meeting his wife on a beach, offering to make her his father’s recipe for Aubergine Stew. Later in the same season, Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) comes into a room where Sisko is waiting to have dinner with his son, and recognizes the stew right away. Since the two have been friends for years, the implication is that he makes it a lot.

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And it is apparently really enjoyable, best eaten with a giant spoon.

Coming back to Earth for a minute, aubergine is a kind of eggplant. It is very popular in Middle Eastern and Persian cuisine, and is best when paired with lamb. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that the Sisko family is from Louisiana, not Tehran. His father’s recipe would likely be a derivative of khoresht-e bademjan, a kind of Persian Eggplant Tomato Stew, but would have significant differences. Khoresht-e bademjan would have spices from the region: Saffron, Turmeric, Advieh. Sisko’s Aubergine Stew would have spices from Louisiana: thyme, cayenne pepper, cumin, black pepper – and would more than likely be made with chicken instead of lamb. It would also include what is well-known in cooking circles as the “holy trinity” of cajun cuisine: bell peppers (I prefer green), onions and celery.

Ingredients:
3 skinless chicken thighs
2 eggplants (aubergines), peeled, diced into medium pieces, and salted overnight
(rinse an hour before cooking)
2 onions, diced
2 leeks, sliced into rings
1 bell pepper (again, any color, but I prefer green)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, cumin and black pepper, about 1/2 tsp of each
Salt
Olive oil

An hour or so before you cook, rinse the eggplant and dry. Heat oil in a large, deep pan. Sauté eggplant til golden brown, not burnt.

In a large pot or saucepan, heat more olive oil. Cook the onion, garlic and celery until soft, then add the spices and cook for a minute or so until they are fragrant. Add eggplant to the pot then cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook until they soften slightly. Then add the crushed tomatoes and mix to distribute tomatoes evenly. Add the chicken to the vegetables, cover the chicken in the vegetable mixture then put the lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes. When you first add the chicken, it will seem too dry to be left on the burner, but don’t worry… the chicken stock is coming.

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When its all done, he vegetables should be soft and the chicken will be falling off the bone.

Remove the chicken from the stew and shred the meat. Set aside, along with about a quarter of the stew mixture. Using a food processor or blender, blend the rest of the stew smooth. Put everything back into the main pot and mix well. It is now ready to serve. Garnish with some green, such as chopped parsley.

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I apparently really love parsley.

Khoresht-e bademjan would be served over Persian-style rice. Considering the rice tradition in creole cooking in New Orleans, I think the Aubergine Stew would be nice over rice, but not necessary, as Dax clearly demonstrated with her giant spoon.

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Krabby Patty | “Spongebob Squarepants”

by Blake Stilwell

The first thing anyone wanted to know as I told people this would be my next post was: HOW? Actually, the cashier at the grocery store thought I was making sushi, then wouldn’t believe me when I said what I was really making. Why wouldn’t a 30-year-old be out to make the signature dish of one of television’s most beloved characters? I don’t know either because this TV trope secret is a very long time in the making, like the location of Springfield on The Simpsons or why people still watch CBS sitcoms that aren’t How I Met Your Mother.

No, this is solving the mystery of the Krabby Patty*.

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This is deciphering a recipe that was either Mr. Krab’s since he was young or a combination of ingredients accidentally mixed together after Plankton and Krabs had a falling out when their original burger recipe failed, minus the one ingredient Plankton managed to take from the original formula.

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And frankly, that’s a good thing.

Many have come up with their own recipes for the Krabby Patty. They range from the very high quality, gourmet style to the ” You didn’t even try” style. The actual secret recipe, is of course hidden where no one, not even Plankton, would ever think to look. So for me, this effort took a lot of intense time and exhaustive research.

The way I see it, the perfect Krabby Patty has two parts: The Bun & The Patty. Other condiments are whatever you like, of course. The customer is always right!

The Bun

This is  where I started my research for the perfect Krabby Patty. In photos, it looks as though it uses a standard sesame seed hamburger bun. But in all incarnations from the show and Nickelodeon, the Krabby Patty has a seaweed bun, such as in this photo floating around the Internet, supposedly downloaded from Nick. com:

Secret Recipe

I don’t know that a seaweed bun is absolutely necessary. This is for the media purist. I don’t think anyone is going to judge you for not being 100 percent completely authentic when serving Krabby Pattys and buying some sesame seed buns. This recipe does not have the golden brown look the Krabby Patty on the show has, as the seaweed gives it a green tint. So if you or your kids are more concerned with aesthetics, maybe a sesame bun is a better choice.

Making seaweed buns from scratch is not easy. There are no short cuts and prep time is roughly 2-2 1/2 hours. The bonus in making these rolls from scratch is not only the full Krabby Patty experience, but also the feeling of accomplishment that baking from scratch gives you. Professional bakers have life figured out. This is why people leave their jobs to open bakeries. I recommend giving it a try at least once! Now preheat your ovens to 375 degrees fahrenheit!

2 c Bread Flour
1/2 c Rice Flour
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Yeast (Rapid Rise is OK)
Six Sheets of Seaweed
2 tbsp Melted Butter
1 1/2 c Warm Water

Step One: Crumble up the seaweed and add it to the water. Then let is sit until the mixture gets thick and pasty. Mix the flours, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. After the seaweed past is ready, add the wet (not the butter) to the dry and mix with your hand. It’s going to be very thick and difficult to work with, keep working and mixing. It’ll loosen up.

Step Two: Pour the dough onto a floured counter and knead for about 10-15 minutes. It should start to loosen up slightly. The slowly knead the butter in and work it until it becomes elastic. Place the dough in a bowl in a warm area and cover with a towel. Let it rise for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hour, until it’s twice its original size.

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Before rising, it will likely be a small, thick chunk.

Step Three: Pour the dough on the floured surface and deflate. Knead again for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and uniform. Cut into 6 pieces and form into balls.  Set the six pieces in the same warm area for another twenty minutes.

Step Four: Reform the balls one last time and put them in the oven. Put sesame seeds on top.

Bake them for 15-20 minutes then take them out. It smells slightly fishy (but in a delicious baked goods kind of way, so its still pleasant), but I promise it doesn’t taste that way. Let them cool, then cut them in half… you know, like a burger bun.

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The Patty

Advanced Patty Control Mechanisms at the ready! The most important and integral part of the Krabby Patty is the Patty itself. Like it says in the Krusty Krab Training Video, you cannot make the Krabby Patty without first understanding “POOP: People Order Our Patties.”

This is also the most complicated part, since no one really knows the entirety of the recipe. For example, we know it contains salt and turmeric. I wonder, is crab an ingredient or is it just named after Mr. Krab? And if they are crab, does Mr. Krab eat them? So many questions lead to other questions here.

One secret recipe for Krabby Pattys really was published on Nick.com, but this appears to be more of a crab cake and less of the burger-looking sandwich seen on the show. It is also questionable because turmeric is not on the list. But it does solve the moral dilemma of Mr. Krab eating a Krabby Patty, as it calls for imitation crab meat, which is usually full of just ground up, reformed fish and some dyes.

Which gives this image a whole "Soylent Green" kinda feeling now.

Which gives this image a whole “Soylent Green” kinda feeling now.

The recipe from Nickelodeon went like this:

2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. finely chopped celery
4-6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 lb. frozen imitation crabmeat, (defrosted and finely chopped in a food processor)
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. mayonnaise (plus 1 cup for dipping sauce)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp. ketchup (for dipping sauce)

I also added the requisite turmeric, another egg and about 1/2 cup more bread crumbs to keep the whole thing from squishing together when you take a bite. If using store bought buns, there is no need to do this. The turmeric is definitely a good addition, but if you use too much, it is going to stain your hands yellow! But when the patties are cooked, it will look closer to the brown of the patty seen on TV.

Cooking

Step 1 – Sauté the onions and celery in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the thyme, lower the heat, and cook until the onions are translucent.

Step 2 – In a large bowl combine the crabmeat, sautéed onions and celery, bread crumbs, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Step 3 – Shape into rounds by using a small ice cream scoop, then gently pat flat.

Step 4 – Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Working in batches (2 to 3 crab cakes at a time) place the crab cakes in a skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. You may need to add more oil for the second and third batches.

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Step 5 – Preheat the oven to 400°F. Transfer the crab cakes to the baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. The crab cakes can be kept in a warm oven for approximately 30 minutes, or they may be reheated at serving time.

This recipe looks like its just a crab cake, admittedly a crab cake with imitation crab meat, but it still doesn’t look quite like the patty we see in the show. Another problem with this recipe is that Spongebob is the Ocean’s Best Fry Cook, good enough to be Fry Cook to King Neptune himself. Spongebob is always seen cooking the patties on a range, so baking them seems out of the question, but with this recipe, its a must to make sure the eggs are fully cooked and hold the whole thing together.

Be sure to assemble the Krabby Patty in the proper order: Bun, Patty, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickles, Onion, Lettuce, Cheese, Tomato, and then Top Bun. And don’t forget the real secret ingredient, which we all actually know: love.

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After that, the only thing left to do it taste it.

You like Krabby Pattys. Don't you, Reader?

You like Krabby Patties. Don’t you, Reader?

*Don’t tell Plankton.

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