Improvised Life » recipes http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:35:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Cuban Table’s Divine Custard Recipe with Music http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/19/cuban-table-egg-custard-natilla/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/19/cuban-table-egg-custard-natilla/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 09:12:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46608

Ellen Silverman

Just as we were getting ready to post another lovely recipe from The Cuban Table, our friend Ellen Silverman‘s brainchild created in league with Ana Sofia Pelaez, we heard the news that relations were getting warmer between Cuba and the US, that some of the embargo that’s hurt the country so terribly may be easing at last.  If you’re confused about what’s going on with Cuba, we recommend reading Vox’s illuminating “9 questions about Cuba you were too embarrassed to ask“. In the meantime, we’re going to dance to this beauty of a video from the documentary Cuba Feliz, and make Pelaez’s  lovely Egg Custard scented with cinnamon, lime and vanilla. (more…)

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Weekend Cocktail: The Cuban Table’s Mojito http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/12/weekend-cocktail-cuban-tables-mojito/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/12/weekend-cocktail-cuban-tables-mojito/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 09:15:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46610

Ellen Silverman

As we start the run up to the holiday season — not to mention the weekend — we thought we’d feature the Mojito recipe from our new favorite cookbook, The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History by Ellen Silverman and Ana Sofia Pelaez. Pelaez tells the story behind the delish cocktail that is made right in the glass: (more…)

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The Cuban Table’s Fab “El Pecado” (Layered Coffee) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/05/cuban-tables-fab-el-pecado-layered-coffee/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/05/cuban-tables-fab-el-pecado-layered-coffee/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46984

Ellen Silverman

In our new favorite cookbook, The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History by Ellen Silverman and Ana Sofia Peláez, Peláez writes evocatively about ventanitas, the street-front windows out of which Cuban bakeries and cafe’s often operate “like beehives scattered across the Miami landscape”. The recipe for el pecado (below), which layers three kinds of milk with strong Cuban coffee, is equally compelling (we’re going to make it this weekend). (more…)

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Delicious Read + Perfect Gift: The Cuban Table http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/05/cuban-table-2/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/12/05/cuban-table-2/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 09:45:13 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46613

At a crossroads in her life, Ellen Silverman traveled to Cuba where she fell in love with its unique culture. That trip catalyzed many returns and ultimately a rich and many-layered cookbook that would truly showcase the Cuban spirit and culture as expressed through its food: The Cuban Table. Here’s a start of our ongoing series on our favorite new cookbook.]]>
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20+ Last Minute Thanksgiving Food Strategies http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/25/last-minute-thanksgiving-strategies-food/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/25/last-minute-thanksgiving-strategies-food/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:23:28 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46799

For all of you scrambling (as we are) to wrap our heads around Thanksgiving, here’s our tried-and-true food traditions that lend themselves to tailoring and improvising. (more…)

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The Hash Improvisations http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/07/hash-improvisations/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/07/hash-improvisations/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 07:51:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46620

Sally Schneider

My favorite rescue for leftover roasted meat or poultry is hash, by which I mean a mess of skillet-cooked onion, potatoes and/or root vegetables into which I toss the diced leftovers. Last night’s hash was inspired by some rare steak I’d roasted a couple of days before. I tossed it into a caramelized braise of diced onions, turnips and celery root, brightened with thyme and slivers of lemon zest. I made it while talking via speakerphone to friends who were also cooking dinner. After cooking together, we sign off to eat our suppers, sometimes texting quick photos of what we made.

When my friend saw the slap-dash photo of my hash, and then asked how to make it, I took it as a sign to publish the method on Improvised Life. (more…)

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Weekend Eats: Shakshouka (Spicy Tomatoes with Eggs) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/10/weekend-eats-shakshouka-spicy-tomatoes-eggs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/10/weekend-eats-shakshouka-spicy-tomatoes-eggs/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:11:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45914

greenkitchenstories.com

Susan Dworski sent us an email recently with images of a dish from Green Kitchen Stories: Shakshuuka with Hummus and Sweet Potato Chips,  and this note:

We eat Shakashuka for Sunday night supper at leasst twice a month. Or more.
My recipe is very similar to this one, but their hummus sounds great. And the chips.

TELL US ABOUT IT, we wrote back. WHAT’S SHAKSHUKA??!!! How do you like to eat it?

Here’s what she wrote:
(more…)

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September is Fig Season! Riffs and a Recipe http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/12/september-fig-season/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/12/september-fig-season/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:00:14 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45407

Maria Robledo

We “awoke with a start” realizing it is full-tilt fig season when a reader wrote to say she applied our tomato drying technique to figs, which she has in abundance on her tree.

Oh my. It’s fig season! What is so grand about figs is that they are perfect unadorned or paired with the simplest of foods, prosciutto and raspberries being one of our favorites (recipe-ette, below). But figs also love salami or just about any cured pig product (even bacon), and cheeses from fresh ricotta to creamy robiola to Manchego. Look/listen to a fig and it will TELL you what to try pairing it with. (more…)

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Tomato Candy (Pilot Light Dried Tomatoes) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/05/tomato-candy-pilot-light-dried-tomatoes/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/05/tomato-candy-pilot-light-dried-tomatoes/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 08:40:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45244

Sally Schneider

Recently we received a trove of small plum tomatoes which are in abundance right now. Since we don't have the energy or space to can the tomatoes, we experimented with drying them in our ancient restaurant stove whose pilot lit oven is a constant 150'. We often dry our kale chips this way, and in the past have done sliced apples and pears. Why not tomatoes? Our experiments were a success. Here’s what we did. ]]>
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Street Entrepeneur Crab Man Mike + Our Faux Aioli Recipe http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/mikes-seafood-boil/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/mikes-seafood-boil/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 20:00:27 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44886

Sally Schneider

While on our NYC stay cation, we'll get a hit of the Maryland shore by stopping by legendary Crab Man Mike's stand in Harlem, where he cooks up batches of crabs, shrimp and lobsters on his rigged propane cooker. We love Mike’s seafood room temperature, dunked in our Faux Aioli (garlic mayonnaise), for an American South/French fusion. Here’s more about the amazing Mike and our recipe.]]>
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Cedar Planked Salmon for the Grill http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/cedar-planked-salmon-grill/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/cedar-planked-salmon-grill/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 00:47:37 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44899

Sally Schneider

Our friend Holton Rower has been learning about cooking salmon on a cedar plank on his Weber grill through trial-and-error, a method we totally endorse.  His first go wasn’t completely successful but it was clear that the cedary smoke is a perfect marriage with salmon. If you don’t have wood coals to cook over, cedar planks are a great way to achieve woodsmoke flavor. Holton learned quickly and his recent try was a huge success. Here’s how he did it (and what he/we learned). (more…)

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Sea Shell Printed Cookies and Pie Crusts http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/25/sea-shell-printed-cookies-pies/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/25/sea-shell-printed-cookies-pies/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:29:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44557

Catherine Gratwicke

While putting together our post on Sea Shell Salt Cellars the other day, we stumbled on this lovely idea: impressing cookie or pie dough with a small ridged scallop (or other) sea shell. Then we wondered what to we recommend that we KNOW will take the impression? H-m-m-m.

Eh voila! Our friends at Kitchen Repertoire’s Sand Dollar Sables look just perfect… (more…)

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Cherry Season’s Perfect Desserts http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/18/cherry-seasons-perfect-dessert/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/18/cherry-seasons-perfect-dessert/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:54:15 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44309

Maria Robledo

We can’t remember a cherry season lasting SO long, with such an abundance of plump cherries. If we owned a restaurant, a bowl of iced cherries would be our featured dessert. (It’s also the perfect, surprising, understated end to a dinner party.) There is little better… …except perhaps (more…)

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3 Sensational Chopped Salads for Summer http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/11/3-sensational-chopped-salads-summer-entertaining/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/11/3-sensational-chopped-salads-summer-entertaining/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:10:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43758

Maria Robledo

Although you can serve chopped salads year round, they are perfect summer fare. They are easy to make, portable enough for picnics and barbeques and refreshingly juicy in warm weather: salad, vegetable and salsa all rolled into one. They are a wonderful foil for simply-prepared meat, poultry and fish.

Every cuisine seems to have its own version – witness the Moroccan “Gazpacho” and Southeast Asian Slaw included here, along with my version of the classic Chopped Salad from the 21 Club.

The basic premise – chopped or grated vegetables bound by a flavorful dressing – lends itself to easy improvisation. (more…)

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