mgcappab's Blog

What we're reading: February 16

A round-up of food-related articles and recipes we're digging into today.

What we're watching:

Good Food

This well-shot video raps about everything on your typical "favorite food" list, from garlic knots to lobster. Now I just wish all rap songs were about food.


What we're reading:

Actresses' Eating Habits

(The New York Times) A discussion of the wave of tiny actresses eating huge portions and about living to eat during interviews. Will someone please make a quiz so I can decide my favorite actress based on food preference? So far, Zoe Saldana is the front runner, as we both love calimari.

Perfect Soup Weather Coming

(The Onion) Although not technically real or news, The Onion's weather forecast about what foods we'll want to eat made us lol, and want to eat soup.


What we're buying:

Half-priced Valentine's Day Candy

Chocolate + Sales = We're there. Even if you don't have a car on campus, you can embrace the post-holiday clearance. Schine bookstore was offering $2 bags of Dark Chocolate M&Ms, just don't forget your SU (or ESF) ID before you shop it like it's hot.

What we're cooking:

Sausage and Pepperoni Puffs

(Plain Chicken) I love a recipe that mimics junk food. These pizza puffs are made in mini-muffin pans for a one-bite snack. They can be just as easy in a regular-sized muffin tin, while losing only a small portion of the adorable factor.


The Easiest Valentine's Day Dinner

This is the easiest and tastiest dinner for Valentine's Day, or any day. Just add chocolate for the perfect finish!

Sometimes the most difficult aspect of cooking dinner is knowing in what order to put everything together. I've taken out that guessing by leading you through the entire plate, step by step.


Flavor-filled mashed potatoes

2 medium-sized potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons cheese (I only had a bag of pizza cheese, but use whatever you have)

Seasonings to taste: black pepper, garlic powder, oregano


Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

1/2 pound asparagus (half a bunch)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Mustard Seared Salmon

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 filets salmon, skinned (I only had frozen, use what you have)

2 tablespoons mustard powder

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


1. Rinse the potatoes, cut out the eyes, and chop into 2-inch cubes of roughly the same size. Place in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Now you have time to relax!

2. When potato pot has come to a boil, begin to prepare the rest of the meal. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the asparagus and snap off the ends. Place asparagus in a large oven-proof dish. Pour over olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss. Add salt and black pepper, toss again. Check potatoes, if tender (can easily insert a fork), remove from heat and drain. Place asparagus in oven. Set a kitchen timer to 10 minutes.

3. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. On a large plate, combine half of the mustard powder and sugar. Lay salmon on top of the mix, and lightly press the fish to coat the bottom side, then flip to coat the other side. Now combine the second half of the mustard powder and sugar, and repeat with the second salmon filet. Place the filets in the hot waiting pan.

4. Pour the drained potatoes back into their previous cooking pot. Now that the asparagus has been in the oven about five minutes, move the asparagus around the dish with a spatula, and put back in the oven. Over low heat, add butter, milk, cheese, and seasoning to potatoes. Flip the salmon filets. Now, mash and combine the potatoes (I used a hand mixer).

5. After the salmon has been flipped for about 2 minutes, remove to waiting plates. The key to well-cooked salmon is to remove it from heat before you think it's ready. The fish will continue cooking on the plate to the perfect doneness. Serve with mashed potatoes and asparagus and enjoy!

Serves 2

What we're reading: February 9

A round-up of food-related articles and recipes we're digging into today

What we're reading

Husk Restaurant in Charleston

(New York Times) A spotlight on the U.S. South's newest eating destination. The food is described as a postmodern ode to the city's rich history. It's a delicous read and nice reminder than we don't have to look far to ogle brilliant and rule-breaking cuisine.

Chocolate Photography

(Saveur) The most beautiful pictures of chocolate you'll ever see. Need I say more? (Caution: If you expect chocolate for Valentine's Day, viewing this will cause guaranteed disappointment on Monday)

8 Bizarre Food Museums

(The Daily Meal) Clear winner of the list: The Jell-O Gallery in LeRoy, N.Y. Make it a sidetrip on your next trip to Buffalo!

What we're listening to

Tea by the Sporkful

The Sporkful's podcast is always entertaining and surprisingly informative. This week, the two former NPR staffers (and their guest, a current NPR staffer) take on a cold-season staple: tea. What kind to buy, how to make it, and why the Brits will always be better tea drinkers than us.

What we're cooking

Smoky sweet potato soup

(fresh cracked pepper) My friend and I are sweet potato fry addicts, so anything that tastes like a fry but isn't covered in oil is first on our "to cook" list.

Savory Bread Pudding

This Valentine's Day, embrace your inner (or outer) Liz Lemon with a comforting bread pudding for one.

Even the darkest of singleton gloom can be cured with a heaping serving of carbohydrates. Sun-dried tomatoes save the bread pudding from textural dullsville. (Full disclosure: I often make this to share simply by doubling the recipe.)

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

Spices to taste: black pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes

1/2 cup stale olive bread (or whatever bread you have)

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 cup spinach

2 Tablespoons pecorino romano cheese

1. In a 2-cup measuring cup, beat together egg, milk, and spices of your choosing (don't add salt, as the cheese will make this salty). Tear the bread into cubes and add until the mixture passes the 1 1/2-cup line of the measuring cup. Let rest in the refrigerator 30 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes three minutes, until garlic starts to toast. Add spinach and cook 2 minutes, until spinach has just wilted.

3. Mix spinach mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese into measuring cup with the bread in it. Pour entire mixture into a greased ramekin sized for one. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon cheese on top.

4.Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is browned on top.

Serves 1. Recipe adapted from Slashfood.


What we're reading: February 2

A round-up of food-related articles and recipes we're digging into today.

What we're reading:

Recipe Sketches from Alinea and Le Bernardin

(Saveur) Saveur collected food-concept drawings from some of the world's best restaurants. It's like a peek into the chef's genius as he creates a new plate. I just wish I had the artistic, and let's face it, culinary skills to follow suit.

Fast Food Oatmeal

(Slate) Did you know that fast-food restaurants serve oatmeal? Neither did anyone else! Regular Slate staffers sampled McDonald's, Au Bon Pain, and Starbucks' oat offers. Read to find out where to get your breakfast fix, and which restaurant's oatmeal was "a tad cement-y, but I like it that way."

How we're searching:


This new search engine is just for recipes. Type in what ingredients you want to use and avoid, and then share the good recipes you find with your friends. With great design, and easy to use options like "Like" and "Save," I may never frantically search for recipes in Google again.

What we're coveting:

Mike's Hot Honey

The good people at Slice (America's Favorite Pizza Weblog) wrote about this trying this spicy honey on pizza. I love honey, and I love hot sauce, so I can think of nothing better than a combination of the two. I wouldn't really eat it on pizza, but on every bite food I eat.

What we're watching:

Top Chef

In my opinion, TV's best competitive food show is on Bravo tonight at 10 p.m. This season's the best yet, with favorite contestants from previous seasons competing for more money than ever. Tonight's episode is Italian food, so eat some pasta, grab a glass of red wine, and get ready to watch some amazing cooking.


Kale Chips

Kale loses its intimidation factor when you bake it into irresistibly crunchy veggie chips.

This winter, I promised myself to expand my vegetable horizons. Kale is a scary vegetable. Raw kale is bitter and has a reputation of being too healthy to be delicious. This baked kale breaks the stereotype. The recipe is easy, and relatively healthy if you can skimp on the cheese (I can't). Just substitute nutritional yeast for the cheese, and you have a great vegan snack.

Are there any vegetables you're scared to take on this season? Let us know in the comments!

1 small bunch kale

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Strip leaves from the stalk into chip-sized chunks.

2. Rinse the kale, quickly dry with a clean hand towel.

3. Toss the kale with olive oil, vinegar, and cheese.

4. Spread the kale on a baking tray, bake for 10 to 15 minutes, careful not to let the cheese burn.

Serves 2, if you can control yourself from eating them all directly out of the oven.

Vegetarian Hot Pot

This Chinese-inspired soup is fast and flavorful. The rice noodles thicken the broth before your eyes.

I love making soups, and this one is especially delicious.

This time I used carrots and broccoli, but feel free to use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. Just make sure you chop everything before you start cooking, or else things will get hectic in the kitchen!

If you eat meat, try substituting steak or shrimp for seitan. Have other variation ideas? Share them with us in the comment section!



1 cup seitan

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1 cup onion, or 1/2 a medium onion

1 cup carrots, or 3 medium carrots

2 cups broccoli, or 1 small head

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 cups water and 2 cups stock or 4 cups water and 2 bullion cubes (any variety broth or bullion is fine)

1/4 package or 3 1/2 ounces tapioca stick rice noodles

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cup spinach

1. Coat the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil. On medium heat, add seitan and stir-fry one to five minutes, depending on thickness, or until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a kettle while you chop the vegetables and mince the garlic.

3. With the pot on medium heat, add garlic, onion, carrots, and broccoli. Stir in soy sauce, ground ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry five minutes, or until onions are almost translucent. Add hoisin sauce, hot water, and either bullion cubes or stock. Bring to a boil.

4. Stir in rice noodles. Reduce heat, and simmer until noodles are al dente, about five minutes. Turn off heat and add rice vinegar.

5. Ladle the soup into each bowl and top with 1/4 cup prepared seitan, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/4 cup chopped spinach.

Makes four large servings.

What we're reading: January 25

A round-up of food-related articles and recipes we're digging into today.

What we're reading:

6 Worst Coffee Drinks from ‘Eat this, not that’
(Slashfood) We’re real suckers for “eat this, not that” recommendations, even if we don’t always follow them. This update warns against some of our real downfalls, Dunkin Donuts lattes and Starbucks hot chocolate. Say it ain’t so!

What we’re coveting:

Awesome Cone
This Portland food truck sells hot food inside a waffle cone. This week’s menu includes chicken and dumplings inside of a waffle. It’s enough to make me go to Portland for spring break and dream of the 90s while eating waffles filled with apple pie. There’s also a backstabbing back-story you can listen to here.


What we're cooking:


Quick Caramelized Onions
(Serious Eats)
Caramelized onions are delicious and can improve anything from sandwiches to macaroni and cheese. This food lab article reads like a fast-forwarded episode of Good Eats. The 40-minute carmelization process has been sped up to 15 or 20 minutes with the addition of simple ingredients you already have in your kitchen. If you don’t read this article, you are wasting your life away while you continue making 40-minute onions.

Dried Lemon Zest
This trick to preserve lemon zest for later use in pies and salads is perfect for the frugal college student. Also perfect for the university lifestyle is the recommendation to mix the zest with salt to put on the rims of margarita glasses.


Who we're following on Twitter:


Ruth Reichl
If you aren’t already following this former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, you’re really missing out on fantastic 140-character food writing. Today’s description of her breakfast changed my entire outlook on the Syracuse tundra: “Fat white flakes swirling down from the sky. Snowman weather. Magical. Mittens. Cocoa. Sugar-dusted jelly doughnuts.”