Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Site: Mitch in the Kitchen

This update is long overdue. I've got a new blog called Mitch in the Kitchen. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sour Cherry Compote

cherry prep
Cherries might be my favorite fruit of them all. Whether they're sweet, sour, or even artificial (I have an undying love for maraschino cherries, and I don't find cherry-flavored medicine to be that gross), I relish them. A simple compote is my pick for the easiest, laziest way to enjoy sour cherries (as if 30 minutes of focused pitting counts as lazy).

cherries simmering
1 dry quart sour cherries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp brandy

Wash, stem, and pit cherries. Combine sugar with orange juice in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. After a few minutes, add cherries and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add brandy and simmer for another minute or two. Serve warm or cold.

cherries with vanilla gelato and crushed pistachios

Monday, July 20, 2009

Whole Wheat Currant Scones

red and white currants
I have a confession to make. Last summer, I had no idea what to do with our share of fresh currants. Jam seemed impractical, but I couldn't just snack on them as if they were green grapes. Eventually, they got moldy, I threw them away, and felt a bit guilty for wasting perfectly good fruit.

This summer, I've been sprinkling currants on my yogurt and cereal for breakfast and vanilla ice cream for dessert. A generous cup of them also went into these scones, which have been perfect for breakfast.

Update: the New York Times just published an article about currants.

(adapted from

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup steel cut oats
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter
1 cup fresh currants
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour with oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut butter into the mixture using a pastry blender or fork, until the mixture is crumbly. Gently fold in currants, and add buttermilk. Mix gently, just until combined. The dough should be very soft.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a long rectangle, about 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. Cut into triangles, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush tops of scones with heavy cream and sprinkle coarse sugar on top (optional). Bake for 22 minutes.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spicy-Sweet Grilled Summer Squash

grilled summer squash
This is the time of year that I add summer squash to everything. For breakfast or brunch: a vegetable-loaded squash and scallion frittata. For lunch: a quinoa salad with chickpeas, roasted squash, eggplant, and assorted items from the pantry and fridge. For dinner: a quick bean and vegetable chili.

Tonight marks the creation of an even simpler summer squash side dish, perfect for a romanesco squash the size of my forearm. Gochujang is a fermented Korean condiment made with soybeans, rice flour, and dried chilies (a new addition to my artillery of condiments). It's spicy but sweet, and has slightly rich, almost smoky flavor.

1 large summer squash (the long kind, e.g. zucchini)
1 teaspoon gochujang or spicy doubanjiang
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Slice squash crosswise into 1/2-inch thick coins. Combine remaining ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip each side of squash into sauce mixture, coating evenly. Cook squash pieces for about 5 minutes on each side, or until marks appear, in a grill pan over medium-high heat (or on an outdoor grill). Garnish with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pasta with Peas and Broccoli

There is a bag of frozen peas in my freezer. It will stay there, untouched, for as long as fresh peas are in season.

5 oz dry pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
1/2 cup fresh peas
florets from 2 small heads of broccoli
1/2 cup quark
salt and pepper
big handful of chopped basil
big handful of chopped mint
green garlic oil (1 stalk green garlic or a few garlic scapes, pureed with 1/2 cup olive oil)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. When there are 5 minutes of cooking time left, add peas to the boiling water. When there are 3 minutes left, add broccoli. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine pasta and vegetables with cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and herbs. Top with a few dabs of green garlic oil.

pasta with peas and broccoli