• 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!

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    em570039@mycia.net

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Spicy Green Pizza

I stumbled across the idea for this pizza in Cooking Light – it sounded like the ideal pizza for a snack, side dish (with soup), or light lunch (with a salad). I love using spicy greens, and now is a good time to find them in my area, so I gathered up a mix – arugula, baby mustard greens, and more – but added a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a little more spice. It’s a sauceless pizza, which makes it great for dipping (in my opinion). I ate it with soup, but I could see serving it with marinara or a garlicky white sauce.

Spicy Rice and Beans

A few times I like to cook and eat vegetarian. Ok, so more than sometimes. So basically, multiple times a week, I turn to Matt and say “cook whatever meat you want that goes with this.” The man is a major carnivore, but it does not stop me from my tasty plotting. I started craving rice and beans this week – warm and hearty and perfect in cold weather. When I got home from work, I went for a walk with the dog and the roommates, came home, and had dinner on the table in less than half an hour. A perfect night.

Spiced Corn Soup with Sauteed Mushrooms

At the risk of sounding like a typical New Year’s Resolution maker, I am trying to eat healthier in 2010. Those of you who know me know I try to eat healthy at least most of the time (which makes it much easier and better when I go on a butter eating rampage). At any rate, as I often talk about, it’s easiest to make healthy food that’s delicious by working with it, rather than against it. It’s hard to make something healthy that inherently has a lot of cream or cheese or anything else in it – you’ll miss all that stuff too much if you eliminate it completely.

Corn is full of delicious starches, and in this pureed soup, it turns into a creamy, incredibly tasty soup. Combined with spicy peppers and savory sauteed mushrooms, it is unbelievably good (and also unbelievably healthy).

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Spicy Chicken with Quick Asian Pickled Salad

For a quick dinner before my trip to Kansas, Matt and I made a quick dinner from some easy recipes we’ve made before. A light breading made for some crisp, spicy chicken. And our favorite quick Asian-style refrigerator pickles makes a delicious salad as a base. Just season the chicken (we used thin, tender-like pieces) with salt, pepper, and a little bit of cayenne, and dredge in enough flour to coat. Cook in 3 Tbsp of olive oil until crisp and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Serve with the quick pickles and it’s a delicious dinner in no time – even the night before a big flight!


Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Pepperjack and Caramelized Onions

There’s something so wonderful about cooking a meal using things you commonly have on hand. Now that I’ve built a relatively stocked pantry, there are certain things I know I have, and can use to toss together dinner in no time. If I have a busy week ahead, I’ll also usually buy some kind of ground meat – because there are so many quick, easy meals I can make with it (depending on my mood). This burger came out of a need to eat – and fast.

As the burgers cooked, my roommate was drawn into the kitchen. We ended up enjoying these sandwiches together before moving on to our separate activities. That’s what I loved about this dinner: it was made using only what was at hand, and it brought people together around the dinner table – if only for a few moments.

Yukon Gold and Chicken Apple Sausage Hash with Fried Eggs and Spicy Tomato Coulis

Breakfast for dinner? Yes. But with chunks of hearty chicken sausage, and crispy yukon gold potatoes, and a spicy tomato coulis this dinner was delicious and satisfying in a completely different way from breakfast. And on the first snow of the year (yes…in OCTOBER) we were happy to be full, satisfied, and back under our blankets in no time.

Ragada (Potato Cakes with Spicy Chickpea Sauce)

I used to be a slave to my favorite restaurants. Sure, I love to try new things, but I am the queen of cravings. This meant that if I went to one of my favorite eateries, I would stumble to the counter or to the table and beg for that must-have dish. I couldn’t NOT order it. Since I’ve started cooking at home, I’ve attempted to create several of my favorites (which sometimes end up even better because I can cook them how I want them).

Ragada is a dish Matt and I disocvered by accident. I was doing a restaurant review for a local newspaper, and was sent to a nearby Indian restaurant. Matt and I are Indian food junkies, but I made him promise to order new things so that I could do an accurate review. We chose Ragada (a dish with a cryptic description as “A Calcutta Favorite”). The dish was simple: pan fried spiced potato cakes with a super spicy chickpea sauce. We went back again and again for the ragada – it was so delicious.

Finally, I decided to make it at home. I feared this one wouldn’t live up to the Ragada we’d become addicted to. But, I was able to tweak it so that I even fixed my one criticism of the dish (I think it suffers from a lack of texture without panfrying the cakes until they are quite crisp and using raw garnish). I could see it on Matt’s face: I’d hit the nail on the head. Now we can be Ragada addicts from the comfort of our own home.

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