Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Notable in New York

Just to put this up front, I'm pretty much a recipe blogger, not a product blogger. When I write about a product it's because I genuinely like it and want to share the awesomeness. If there's a product I'm asked to sample, I'll let you know who sent me the sample.

I've always been straight-up about this kind of thing, but apparently there are enough issues out there that the FTC is writing laws about this stuff now.

SO... now that all that's out of the way, here are three new-ish food products out here in Gotham City that make me proud to be a New Yorker. Not only am I quite fond of each of them, but either I or my fella purchased everything here at full price with our very own hard-earned cash.

Mother In Law's Kimchi

1. Mother In Law's Kimchi

I love kimchi. Love it. My sweetheart greatly prefers sauerkraut, but because he is, indeed, sweet, he brought me a jar of this delicious kimchi.

Mother In Law's Kimchi is a newcomer on the north side of the Essex Street Market, and proprietor Lauryn Chun was on hand this weekend to proffer sample bites.

Well-balanced and not too spicy, this formula seems to have a meaty richness. Although (as I mentioned), J is not typically wild about kimchi, he says this is "an excellent example." And since I've already eaten my way through half the jar, I think it's pretty clear how I feel about it.

Goober Peas

2. Boiled in Brooklyn Goober Peas

A couple of architects, a bunch of raw peanuts and a dream...

Potato chips I can take or leave, but I'm a huge fan of fresh-boiled peanuts as a snack food. Sadly, I haven't really had a local source since the Queen's Hideaway in Greenpoint shuttered.

If you've never had the pleasure, boiled peanuts are a Southern thing. Tender, earthy, rich and very much like cooked beans. They're generally simmered in a very flavorful brine. I'm frankly a little surprised they're not a standard bar snack, because I personally think they're killer with beer and cocktails.

With four flavor varieties and cold iced tea on hand, Boiled in Brooklyn will be one of my new go-to stops at the Dumbo Brooklyn Flea.

Connecticut-Style Lobster Roll
3. Red Hook Lobster Pound "Connecticut Style" Lobster Rolls

I believe plenty has already been said about Red Hook Lobster Pound as a source for good, reasonably priced seafood. I'd like to put in a good word for the "Connecticut Style" Lobster Roll they sell at the Sunday Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo.

Composed of nothing more than lobster meat that's quick-sauteed in butter, then sprinkled with scallions and paprika and nestled into a buttery toasted bun, the Connecticut is a simple, flavorful seaside fare — a nice break from the mayo-based Maine variety (although RHLP sells that, too).

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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10.11.2009

Food Quote Friday: Orson Welles

Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch
PB Bacon Crunch ice cream

"I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts."
Orson Welles

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8.08.2008

Peanut-Butter Glazed Chocolate Cake

Now that we have an official MissGinsu.com Peanut Week theme around these parts, I realized I had to address one of the world's greatest flavor combinations: chocolate and peanut butter. (Thank you, Reese's. The world owes you a great debt.)



A recent commenter led me to Jen's Chocolate Cake... a brilliantly simple single-post blog that features a chocolate cake recipe. A chocolate bundt cake recipe, to be precise.

And as a side note, I'm honestly incapable of making a bundt cake anymore without thinking of the "parental conflict over bundt cake" scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

And as a side note to the side note, Bundt is actually a registered trademark of the Minnesota-based Nordic Ware company, the folks who've made these pans for sixty years. That's why so many cookbooks refer to "tube pans" instead of bundt pans these days.

But back to the chocolate cake. Jen's recipe makes a very moist, rich cake, and she recommends a couple of different accompanying glazes.

And I've got one more that complements this cake very nicely. (Just remember what we discussed on Tuesday and don't bring it into school for snacktime.)
Jen Kwok's Chocolate Cake
1.75 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
0.5+ cup (two heaped quarter cups) cocoa
2 cups brown sugar
0.75 cup vegetable oil
0.5 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
0.75 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan. Blend all dry ingredients. Blend in brown sugar. Whisk in remaining ingredients, except water. Add boiling water and whisk until smooth. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (turning about halfway through,) until cake tester comes out clean. Cool ten minutes in pan. Turn out of pan and finish cooling on rack.

My Peanut Butter Glaze for Jen's Chocolate Cake (Makes about 2 cups)

1/2 cup peanut butter (preferably smooth)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt (if you're using natural peanut butter)

1. Whisk together all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. Add a tablespoon or so more milk if it seems too thick to drizzle.

2. Drizzle over the chocolate cake. Use excess glaze to spoon over individual slices, if you wish. Or just save it and serve it over vanilla ice cream. Mmm...

As you can imagine, this cake + glaze combo was popular around the office.

One of the best things about Bundt, er... tube cakes is that they're great for sharing. I love how everyone can slice off just as much as they want. It offers more flexibility than the rigid squares/rectangles you get out of a 9"x13" pan.

Happy Eating!

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8.07.2008

Recession-Proof: Spicy Peanut Soba (or Slaw)

I feel a great sauce is like one's most reliable suit or best basic dress. It proves its thrift and usefulness again and again.

A spicy peanut sauce turns out to be one of those go-to recipes. I know I just covered peanuts yesterday, I'm going to run the risk of making it peanut week around here (Heck... why not just make it peanut week around here?), and propose a good peanut sauce as part of your recession-proof recipe package.

Soba Noodles

As ag booster (and legume-hacker) George Washington Carver popularly pointed out, peanuts are supremely useful little legumes. Not only can you use the humble peanut to make paint, dye and nitroglycerin... they're also cheap and tasty.

Use this sauce on shredded cabbage and carrots, and you've got yourself a savory slaw. Use it over soba noodles for a lovely lunch or dinner. Use it as a salad dressing. It's also great with thin-sliced grilled meats in the style of a classic peanut saté sauce.

Veggie Slaw

Thus, a savory peanut sauce is not merely versatile, it's also a flexible meal-maker in which both meat lovers and vegetarians can rejoice with equal fervor.

Ginger-Peanut Soba, Salad or Slaw (Serves 4)

For the Base

1/2 lb soba noodles, cooked according to package instructions, rinsed and cooled

or

1/4 head cabbage, finely sliced & 2 carrots, shredded

or

1 head boston or butterhead lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1-2 tsp hot sauce (or more, if you like it hot)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup vegetable oil

Optional Accessories:
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or mint, roughly chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup cooked, sliced chicken, pork or beef

1. Blend peanut butter, vinegar, hot sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and fresh ginger. Whisk in vegetable oil slowly.

2. Toss peanut sauce with cooked soba noodles or cabbage/carrots or torn lettuce.

3. Top with your choice of optional accessory ingredients and serve. The soba and slaw keep well, but if you're not serving a lettuce salad immediately, wait to dress it until just before serving.


Yours in good, cheap eats,

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8.06.2008

Adventures in Dangerous Baking

"Drop the cookie, ma'am."

"Are you talking to me?"

"Yes. Drop the cookie and raise your hands."

"What? But it--"

"You heard me, ma'am. Drop the peanut-butter cookie and back away slowly."

"But it's my cookie."

"I don't want an argument here. Just drop the cookie and raise your hands above your head."

"It's my lunch. I can't just drop it in the dirt, I--"

"Ma'am, you can't go waving around that cookie. You're within 100 yards of an elementary school. That cookie is a lethal weapon."

"But I baked it this morning... Can't I just eat it? Wait! No! Don't shoot! Fine! I'll drop it! See? I dropped it..."

"You people... Now we need to seal off this whole area and do another detox. Do you know how long that takes? Cripes. And you could've killed somebody's kid, too. Can't you read the signs?"

"And it was a good cookie, too. Wait, there's signs?"

"Of course there's signs. There's signs here. And here. And over there, too. Under penalty of law, no peanuts may enter these premises."

"When did that happen?"

When indeed? This is obviously a dramatization, but what's absolutely true is that you really can't bring peanut butter cookies or peanut trail mix or even good old PB&J into a lot of schools nowadays.

Peanut Butter Cookies... mmmm...

One of my daddy friends tells me that his daughter's school has banned not only peanuts, but homemade snacks in general. So put away your family's favorite recipe for lemon bars. School treats must now be individually packaged snack foods.

Great for food manufacturers. Lousy for parents who want to demonstrate a DIY ethic.

In addition to a general fear of food allergies (a fear that some people feel has been exaggerated as of late), birthday treats are also apparently to blame for making America's children blobby.

Again, my friend's progressive school has banned birthday treats as a way to remedy this issue. Thank goodness childhood obesity isn't the result of too much soda pop, fast food, candy-stocked vending machines and a general lack of exercise.

PB cookies unbaked

Knowing all this, I feel that one of the more dangerous acts one can undertake these days is making and (gasp!) distributing peanut butter cookies.

As I was feeling a bit puckish just recently (and the temperature dropped down for long enough to make baking palatable), I whipped up a batch of these little danger discs.

Salty, sweet, creamy and rich... I love 'em. And there's a million recipes out there.

I find the Joy of Cooking version is more sandy-cakey and the Better Homes & Gardens one is more crispy.

PB cookie dough

I tend more toward the crispy, myself. Here's my version. Bake and consume at your own risk.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Makes about 35-40)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or, just use AP)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
White sugar, for squashing (optional)

1. Beat together butter, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract.
2. Sift together flour, soda and baking powder, and combine with the peanut butter mixture.
4. Cover mixing bowl and chill for 1 hour, or wrap well and freeze until you're ready to bake.
5. Heat the oven to 375°F, and roll the dough into 1" balls. Place each ball about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
6. Compress each ball with the tines of a fork. You may wish to dip the fork in white sugar between impressions, since it makes the tops sparkley with sugar. Or not. It's up to you.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes and cool on a wire rack before devouring with cold milk.


Happy Eating!

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8.05.2008