• 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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Ingredient Spotlight: Chili Oil

Grocery stores continue to surprise me. I can now find an array of not just flavored oils, but specifically chili oils in the aisles. Not just for spice freaks, a good chili oil has amazing pepper flavor – something to truly prize. Add it to vinaigrettes, stir-frys, sauces, or grilled vegetables.


If you’re still not sure, try one of the very common and milder varities: chili infused olive oil. This will still have the fruitiness of an olive oil, with a slight kick from the chili, and is can easily be used in recipes that already call for olive oil.

Panang Curry

I’m currently working on a vegetarian cookbook at work. I love eating vegetarian foods – I generally have vegetarian meals 3 or 4 times a week. It’s healthy and almost always faster, since I don’t have to wait for the protein to cook or rest. Don’t get me wrong – I am a total carnivore. But I eat meat so often that to break out of the mold occasionally just tastes good.

In another effort to shake things up, I made a new curry. If you’ve read my blog before, it may appear that I am a slave to red curry. What can I say? It’s delicious – my all time favorite. But this panang curry was silky, smooth, and delicious. I used peanut butter as the base, but grinding toasted cashews or almonds would make for an equally delicious curry. Also, you wouldn’t have to make this vegetarian – toss in some cubed pork or chicken if you like. Because I’m a spice fiend, I finished by curry with a little sriracha, but the chili paste makes it nice and warm without any additions.

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Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

I was given a request for a recipe for homemade hamburger and hot dog buns. The difference is pretty great – a lot of the stuff you can buy in the store has very little flavor, and much of it has the texture of a sponge. Plus making my own gives me the opportunity to make whole wheat buns, which are my favorite. This recipe works for both hamburger and hot dog buns – whole wheat and white flours – sesame seeds, poopy seeds or plain – and so on.

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Baked Spiced Shrimp

I’m often struck by how often I cook the same way. Not the same thing – I am always trying new recipes, but I have my favorite ways of cooking various things. I like to stir-fry peppers and onions, I love grilling meat, and I usually saute shrimp. But last weekend, I decided to try something different. A baked shrimp dish, infused with spices and juicy tomatoes. Topped with a sprinkling of feta cheese and bread crumbs, this tasty dish was a big hit – not to mention ridiculously easy.

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Hot Pepper Jelly

One of my favorite foods are peppers. I love spice, but more than that, I love the flavor of peppers. A vendor at my favorite farmer’s market made a delicious hot pepper jelly that captured just that: the sweet and slightly spicy flavor of peppers. I finally asked her what kind of peppers she used, and her answer was all jalapenos. So I searched all my local stores for red jalapenos. When I found them, I did my best to capture the same flavor. And it worked – it was sweet and delicious and just a tad spicy. I would highly recommend it – it’s possibly my favorite recipe I’ve made in a long time.

White Chocolate Poundcake with Caramel Drizzle

My cousin Sarah just graduated from high school. I wish I could have given her I proper graduation gift, but in commemoration of the beautiful white gowns they wear to their ceremony, I made her a white chocolate cake. Studded with white chocolate and topped with a caramel drizzle, this poundcake is a winner: and will mail well (if you’re looking to send a gift)!

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Asparagus with Spring Garlic Pesto

 

I love asparagus. I never get my fill of it by the time the season is over. And today as I was roaming through the store (in the midst of a summer-like New York heat wave) I was suddenly struck with the realization that asparagus would soon be gone. So I grabbed a bunch, and went home. Since it’s one of those vegetables I love to eat just the way it is, I just cooked it quickly (I find a combination of sautéing and pan steaming gives the best results) and topped it with a little bit of pesto I had in the fridge from my pea soup. You could, of course, use store-bought pesto for this delicious taste of spring. It would be great as an appetizer, salad, or side dish.

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