Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Our family has a pretty traditional thanksgiving dinner, yet somehow (I blame our mom and her health food obsession), we never had a sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. Lola finally had one last year and she's been talking about how amazing it was ever since. So there was a lot of build up to my first sweet potato marshmallow casserole (which we had for dinner a couple days before thanksgiving), but it lived up to the hype. It was all I had dreamed of and more.
Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole recipe from
Serves 8
*8 sweet potatoes
*1/2 cup hot milk
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
*1/2 pound marshmallows
mash potatoes, add spices, butter, and milk, mix. Fold in nuts and put the mixture in a buttered baking dish. Put the marshmallows on top. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my favorite falafel restaurants

happy thanksgiving! hope everyone has a fantastic day and meal tomorrow! while plans for thanksgiving are not completely finalized, i will be making a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows tonight. not for thanksgiving, but for dinner tonight. rita's never had one and she wants to try it just in case her thanksgiving meal doesn't include it.

on a completely unrelated note, lets talk about falafel.

falafel is one of my favorite foods, and i'm lucky to live in a city where you can get it on almost any block at any time of day. so what are my favorite falafel spots? glad you asked!

maoz vegetarian is a chain with locations in the us and europe. in downtown new york, there's one at union square and one on west eighth street. at $5 a sandwich, maoz is a little pricier than i usually like to pay for my falafel, but you also get free access to whatever salad bar fixings you can stuff in your sandwich. or you can get a salad box to fill for about $9. the salad bar is always fresh, and the falafel is nice and crispy. plus, they have awesome sweet potato fries.

mamoun's is one of my favorite restaurants in new york. there are two locations, one in the west village on macdougal, and one in the east village on st. mark's. the falafel sandwich is $2.50 and is fantastic. they have a ton of other stuff on their menu too, none of which i've ever had because i always get falafel. be sure to use their spicy sauce, but not too much (i've made that mistake. it was painful).

the hummus place another chain, with three locations in downtown new york: 2 in the west village, and one on st. mark's. i highly recommend the falafel (which comes as an appetizer, not in a sandwich), the stuffed grape leaves, the mushroom hummus, and the Mediterranean mojito. the macdougal street location is tiny, but all three have a great atmosphere, nice enough that you feel you're having a good meal out (not just grabbing lunch between classes), but still causal and cozy.

new yorkers, any great places i have to try? and non-new yorkers, what is one food you could eat everyday? also, for everyone, any thanksgiving plans?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

chai french toast

we really like french toast. we also really like chai. so when we saw chai mix at trader joe's next to a sign that said, "great in french toast batter!" we knew it was meant to be.

we used the remains of a stale baguette for the toast and 2 eggs, beaten, and about 1/3 cup soymilk for the batter. we mixed in trader joe's chai latte mix to the batter too. you can find Oregon brand chai mix at a lot of stores, but you could probably also use chai spice plus sugar.

we heated butter in a pan, dipped our toast, and fried until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. it was still a little chewy in the middle, so we should have cut the bread thinner. we topped with a drizzle of syrup and some pomegranate seeds. delicious!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

pumpkin cream pasta

We had some leftover heavy cream from the butternut squash gratin, so I decided to mix it with pumpkin to make a pasta sauce. It was very good, although it needed some salt, which we were out of when I made it.
Pumpkin Cream Pasta
serves 1
-1 serving (about 1/4 cup) of penne pasta
-handful of frozen peas
-pumpkin puree
-heavy cream
-about 2 teaspoons fresh sage
-salt and pepper
cook the pasta, adding in the peas about 2 minutes before it's done to thaw them. Drain. In a pan over low heat, combine the pumpkin puree and heavy cream at about a 1:1 ratio, then add more of either one to taste. Add sage, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the pasta and peas and serve.
p.s someone asked where we got the oatmeal muffin mix earlier, it's from Whole Foods

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

couscous breakfast

i decided to try something wacky for breakfast the other day.
first, i roasted chickpeas in some sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder for about 40 minutes at 350. they didn't turn out as crunchy as i'd hoped...maybe i should have added some oil or cooked them for longer? they also didn't really taste like cinnamon or cocoa, but they did taste sweet.

in the morning, i cooked 1/4 cup couscous in 1/4 cup cranberry apple juice. i then mixed this with yogurt, and topped with the chickpeas, frozen strawberries, a small scoop of peanut butter, and a small handful of bran flakes.

it turned out really good! i loved the couscous with the juice and the yogurt. next time, i'd probably make more couscous and eliminate the chickpeas.


Monday, November 15, 2010

in which we eat a lot of brie

we have some exciting news here at chez twin: rita will be studying abroad in paris next semester! we've already planned her new tres chic wardrobe (quirky librarian meets audrey hepburn. it will involve lots of striped shirts, of course), and this weekend, we decided to have a french-inspired dinner.

arugula with pomegranate seeds, pecans, and vinaigrette

roast tomatoes (sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast at 350 for about half an hour, then broil for 5 minutes. let cool slightly before eating) and baguette with brie.

we should have had wine too, but neither of us like wine, so we had a mix of lime sparkly water and cranberry apple juice.

and of course, we had music to set the mood.

we're already planning an irish themed dinner for me (i'm hopefully studying abroad in dublin this summer) next week. it probably won't be nearly as classy as the french meal, but that's ok with me.

question time! you get to leave tomorrow for a vacation in any country in the world. where are you going?


Friday, November 12, 2010

butternut-pecan pasta and salad

perhaps you were inspired by our culinary feats and decided to make the casserole from our last post. like us, you probably had a lot of ingredients left over. are you wondering what to do with them? well, wonder no more, my friends!

how about pasta?we made a sauce by melting feta in heavy cream, then added whole wheat pasta, roasted butternut squash, and some greens (which totally cancels out any negative health effects of the cheese+cream sauce. trust me, i'm a nutrition minor). we stirred it all together and topped with pecans.

or maybe you'd prefer a salad?
greens+roasted butternut squash+feta+pecans+vinaigrette=delicious.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

butternut squash, pecan and goat cheese gratin

Autumn is my favorite season in New York. The weather's perfect, it has halloween and thanksgiving (two of my favorite holidays), Starbucks breaks out their winter cups, and most importantly all of my favorite foods are in season. This recipe uses one of those food, butternut squash, and is also the perfect warm, comforting dish for autumn weather.
Butternut squash, hazelnut and goat cheese gratin from Bon Appetit
makes 8-10 servings as a side dish, 4-6 as a main dish

2 tablespoons olive oil
*coarse kosher salt (we used regular salt stolen from the dining hall)
*4 tablespoons butter, divided
*3 Cups sliced leeks
*1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
*1 1.5 oz log soft goat cheese
*1 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (we used pecans because we couldn't find any hazelnuts at the store)
*3 1/2 lb butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, seeded, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Combine squash and oil in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss. Spread on baking sheet, roast for 35 minutes.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a pan, add sliced leeks and sage, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender but not brown, about 15 minutes.
Coat dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Put half of the leek mixture in it, then half of the squash mixture, then half of the cheese. Continue layering in this manner until you run out.
Preheat oven to 375. Pour cream over the casserole, sprinkle with nuts, and bake for about 30 minutes uncovered.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

momofuku milk bar!

last weekend, my mom was in town. we took long walks around the city, went to the museum of natural history, had a celebrity sighting (tracy morgan!), went to a concert (the dandy warhols. they were fantastic) and explored thrift stores in brooklyn. she took lots of pictures of said events. the only two pictures i have from the weekend?

grasshopper pie

candy bar pie
both from momofuku milk bar.
clearly, i have the right priorities.

Monday, November 1, 2010

couscous and carrot salad

first of all...

almost as exciting?
my lunch the other day(not really actually. giants winning their first world series in san fran was much more exciting. but i really was quite excited about this lunch).

couscous and carrot salad
for the carrots:
mix shredded carrots with cinnamon, olive oil, and lightly chopped parsley. stir (or shake in a tupperware) until combined. taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

for the couscous:
cook couscous according to package directions (i use whole wheat couscous, 1/4 cup per serving). i added a sprinkle of Penzey's rogan josh seasoning, which is paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and saffron. i love spice mixes because its not practical to buy a whole bunch of different spices when you live in a dorm.

saute some onion slices in olive oil and rinse and drain a can of chickpeas. stir onions and chickpeas into cooked couscous (i use about 1/3 to 1/2 of an onion and 1/3 a can of chickpeas for one serving). add some crumbled feta too.

top with sriracha or other hot sauce, a handful of carrot salad, and a spoonful of plain yogurt.

et voila! a delicious, nutritious meal!