• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!

    em570039@mycia.net

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    Check out my food journeys at An Appetite for Adventure!
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Indian Spiced Pork

Ok. So I admit it. I’m an Indian food junkie. It is what it is. And while there is a huge array of Indian recipes out there: my favorites tend to be those covered in thick, creamy sauces. Incredibly delicious, of course, but not incredible for the waistline. So I got the idea the other day to make a dish with all the flavors of one of my favorite Indian dishes – Rogan Josh – with a healthier edge. Rogan Josh is usually made with lamb, but I switched my recipe to pork (primarily due to a current lack of lamb in my store) and lightened up the sauce with tomato and Greek yogurt – so you still get a little bit of that creaminess going on.

The result was amazing – all Indian food is packed with flavor due to all the incredible spices, but in this dish they came through even more because they were’nt smothered behind an overly thick, fatty sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never abandon my now-perfected Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, but this does provide an answer for all you Indian food junkies out there who are occasionally looking for a healthier option (you know who you are).

 

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Tomato and Basil Chicken Meatballs

My grocery store makes huge piles of things at the entrance every few weeks. Jars of cranberry sauce six feet high tower over me in the fall. Cookies and cakes are piled in a tauntingly appealing display during the holidays. Plastic forks and paper cups sit amongst coupons for barbeques in the summer months. I suppose this ridiculous marketing scheme is one way of marking the change of the seasons. So I was quite pleased to walk into the store only to be greeted by not just the usual blinding florescent lighting, but also the deliciously fresh scent of large bushels of basil.

This, I thought to myself, called for a celebration. And while the basil smelled and looked terrific, the produce section was still not quite at it’s spring or summertime peak. So I turned to a common go-to ingredient: chicken. I flavored ground chicken with reduced tomato juice and plenty of fresh basil, then topped it with a rich, chunky tomato sauce. It’s a deliciously classic combination that’s also incredibly healthy! Add 2 tablespoons of cream or whole milk for a creamier sauce, or try pairing this dish with your favorite pasta for an even heartier meal!

 

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Poblanos Rellenos – Stuffed Poblano Peppers

A friend of mine asked me a few months ago how to reuse leftovers in new ways. Jessica Foulke, if you’re out there, this post is an answer to a question you asked me so long ago. At least, it’s one approach. I love to make “base” dishes that can be used in any number of ways – salads, stuffings, even as toppings for pizza. Think of something with basic layers of flavor, like this combination of beans, corn, rice, and meat. The resulting mix will, inevitably, produce leftovers, but ones that are quite versatile. I love to eat this mixture as a warm salad over wilted greens. Or, alternately, this recipe halves very easily. Then any other ingredients you have leftover can be used for a completely new recipe!

Some More Leftover Perspective…

Leftovers are a constant problem plaguing apartment (and home) kitchens everywhere. There are many solutions: eat the same thing over and over and over (and over) again, throw massive amounts of food away, or pretend it’s not sitting in the fridge until it’s spoiled rotten and is inedible. But I have a new solution: focus on the sides.

Make just the amount of protein or major component you need whenever possible: 1 steak, 2 pork chops, four loins, and so on. But don’t hesitate to make full recipes of the side dishes: potatoes, veggies, and/or grains. Even though they were made for a specific dish, they can be used in a myriad of other ways.

Think of things that store well: pasta, salads, marinated or pickled items, etc. Then think of new proteins that match it’s flavor profile: marinated mushrooms will go great with steak, chicken, or pork. Black beans will go with many different styles of cuisine. And salads can be served on the side of a dish, a component of a sandwich, or even combined with pasta.

To get you started, here’s a recipe, Apartment Kitchen style. Remember the Asian Slaw and Citrus Yogurt from a previous post? It’s fresh, citrus flavors don’t just match with salmon, but all kinds of seafood – including the amazingly fresh soft shell crabs I found at my market this morning. Grill yourself some pita, (homemade or otherwise) add the slaw, some yogurt, and some pan fried crab, and you have an amazing (and incredibly quick) sandwich. Dig in.

Soft Shell Crab with Asparagus and Mushroom Salad

A few weeks ago, I had a realization. Every year, I appreciate the change of the seasons more and more. I feel an incredible sense of invigoration as everything turns green and pink and yellow. And as much as anything, my tastebuds feel it. Fresh veggies, ripe fruits, and one of my favorite things in the world: soft shell crabs.

Sauteed in a little bit of oil, this delicious crustacean is amazingly crispy and tastes amazing. You can pair it with anything: my friend Terri pan-fried it and served it over a bed of ricotta dressed pasta with wilted arugula. I suggested Matt pair it with some leftovers for a delicious sandwich. And I sauteed some spring asparagus with mushrooms and shallots for a warm, fresh salad as the base for my soft shell. They were all good – perfect matches using an impeccably fresh product.

Salmon with Asian Slaw and Citrus Yogurt Sauce

I didn’t want to stop posting even though I am temporarily without camera. And it’s a bit of a shame, because this salmon was one of the prettiest dishes I have made in a long time – amazing colors, delicious flavors, and super super fast to make. By the time I had tossed the slaw, the salmon was done cooking – the whole meal was done in less than 15 minutes.

The next time you see some beautiful, fresh wild salmon at the grocery store (or the next time it’s on sale, as it was for me) grab it up and make this dish – it’s delicious and was definitely the perfect way to beckon in the warmth of spring.


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Turkey Picadillo with Sopes

I had a hankering for Mexican. Luckily, this hankering was shared by Terri and Matt who would be eating dinner with me. But since I didn’t want the same old stanbys, I turned to an old favorite. Two old favorites, actually – Picadillo and Sopes.

Sopes are thicker than a tortilla and give great texture to any dish. Picadillo is full of flavor and is easy to prepare. Combined, an amazing dinner that was an excellent way to come back to New York after such an excellent trip home.