• 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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Equipment Spotlight: Baking Sheets

I can’t count how many times a day I reach for these. It may seem counterintuitive, but I am always using baking sheets when I cook. Well, maybe not so counterintuitive – think of all the things you can use it for. After sauteeing a thick piece of meat, toss it on a sheet pan to finish evenly in the oven. Roast vegetables, meat, or even fruit. Keep finished foods warm at a low oven temperature. And yes, of course, they are indispensable when baking.

I like to have several types on hand – they are not an expensive piece of equipment and obviously worth the investment. A sheet pan with walls is useful if something is going to release juices (meatloaf, roasted veggies tossed in oil, a steak, etc.) so that the pan gets dirty, but your oven stays clean. I also enjoy pans without walls for other uses, and even the circular shaped “pizza pans” which I use not only for pizzas, but for tarts and giant cookies as well. Once you have a few, you’ll see what I mean – it’s the kind of kitchen tool you can’t imagine being without.

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Ravioli with Roasted Chanterelles, Garlic, and Bacon with Pepadew Peppers

I scored some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms from the storeroom this weekend. I felt like I’d been eating a lot of pasta recently, but I couldn’t help but think of making some fresh pasta that I could fill with the mushrooms. I roasted them with garlic, onions, and bacon and then sauteed the finished ravioli in butter with sweet peppadew peppers. The whole process would be easier with a pasta machine – but it is possible to do it with a rolling pin and some brute strength! I love making oversized raviolis that can hold a lot of filling – and they look so great on the plate.

Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Toasted Pita

Above all else, I love a good bargain. So when I saw a pile of pork shoulders in the butcher case at my favorite market (for just over $1/lb!!!) I couldn’t resist. I dug through the pile (yes…gross) until I hit the bottom (where I found pig’s ears and feet as well – I passed). The smallest shoulder I could find was six pounds. So I carted my huge shoulder to the checkout. The cashier said something I hear a lot at that store: “What are you gonna make with THAT?” and that’s when I have to start thinking about it myself.

If you read anything about my recent journey across Eastern Europe, you’ll know that Matt and I ate our fair share of kebabs. Ever since, I’ve been struggling with the idea of trying to create something similar to surprise him with. A recent experience with souvlaki reminded me how easy it was to put those flavors together for an easy and delicious meal. Plus, I began using some of the massive amount of pig I had sitting in my fridge.

I made a quick dry rub with garlic powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and a little bit of cayenne. Matt cut the fat off of the top of the shoulder, and we applied the dry rub all over the meat, and covered it with the fat. We roasted it in a low oven (275 degrees) for 3-4 hours, until it was tender and juicy. Then, you can use it for almost anything…like this souvlaki! (You could also use pork ribs…they would shred similarly, taste great, but take a lot less time to cook.)

Tuscan Fries

Matt and I had a bit of a decadent meal last week. Well, decadent for us. We try to sneak whole grains in wherever possible, use healthier fats, and stay away from excess (which, naturally, is loosely defined) calories and fat. So last week’s steak (wonderfully rare), corn with butter, and Tuscan fries with aioli were an incredible treat. These fries are amazing because of their simplicity: good olive oil, fresh rosemary, kosher salt, and garlicky aioli for dipping. But they can be made in a variety of different ways depending on time restraints, texture preferences, or ease of preperation. I’ve made a list of a few possible methods so you can choose for yourself…